The inspection team rated 11 of the inspected areas ‘outstanding’ 19 ‘good’ and three as ‘adequate’.Capacity for improvement was rated ‘outstanding’ for both safeguarding and looked after children services, making Knowsley the first local authority in the country to achieve the highest possible grades in both categories.
Inspectors said the strategic leadership and management of safeguarding is outstanding and that the overall effectiveness of safeguarding services was good, with strong and visible leadership from Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board and effective partnership working ensuring safeguarding is a priority in Knowsley. Their report said the lead member for children and other elected members demonstrated outstanding ambition to improve safeguarding within the borough.
Their report also noted good and outstanding examples of projects and services to prevent children and young people from being harmed.
The inspection team described the overall effectiveness of services for looked after children as good. “Political and managerial leadership is visible and strong …Corporate parenting responsibilities are taken very seriously and…the engagement of looked after children and young people in strategic planning and scrutiny processes is outstanding..” said the report.Inspectors noted educational achievement ‘is a particular success’ and that performance is good ‘not only against comparable areas but also in the context of Merseyside as a whole, and nationally.’
They praised the ‘outstanding track record of continuous improvement against key targets, including educational attainment, health and offending’. The inspectors also remarked on looked after children’s high levels of aspiration.Damian Allen, Executive Director for Children and Family Services, said:
“I am delighted that Knowsley is the first local authority in the country to have its capacity for improvement rated ‘outstanding’ for both safeguarding and looked after children services. It is a testament to our intense work and focus on improving the services we deliver to children, young people and their families over the past few years.“Our ethos in Knowsley is that all children deserve the best possible start in life, and we continue to work tirelessly to ensure this happens. It is therefore particularly pleasing that Ofsted recognised that looked after children in Knowsley are doing better at school and catching up with their peers. Ensuring that children are safeguarding has been one of our key priorities so it is also pleasing that our progress has been recognised and that safeguarding outcomes are judged ‘good’. Inspectors also praised the work we are doing to eradicate poverty, reduce youth offending rates and our provision of extended schools provision.”
Cllr Graham Wright, Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said:“Knowsley Council and our partners have a motivated, hard working and dedicated workforce supported by effective and committed management and I am pleased that this has been affirmed by the Government inspection team.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone across the borough whose daily work under-pins our collective efforts to improving the lives of children and young people in Knowsley for their continued commitment and support.”