Wakefield Council wins national award for transformation of children’s services four years after damning Ofsted report

Wakefield Council has won a national award for its work to transform children’s services, four years after being criticised in a damning Ofsted report.

By Tony Gardner
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 4:22 pm

The local authority has been named as the winner of the Children’s Services category at this year’s LGC Awards.

LGC judges said the council has an “engaged and enthusiastic workforce supported by their innovative learning academy.”

It was also praised for the creation of a ‘safe space’ for social workers to practice and for having a “clear vision of next steps in achieving an outstanding status”.

Councillor Margaret Isherwood, (back row third left) with staff from Wakefield Council's children and young people's services

A 2018 Ofsted report rated the council’s children services as ‘inadequate’ in all areas.The report said there were “serious and widespread failures” and that vulnerable children across the district had been left at risk.

Wakefield children’s services are now rated as ‘good’ in every area.

It is thought to be one of the fastest improvements of children’s services in the country.

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The Children’s Services category aims to recognise Councils that are ambitious, have a strategic approach to children’s services and have developed a quality relationship with schools, the health service, and other key agencies.

Its leadership was recognised for working ‘tirelessly’ to make improvements.

Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Our goal is to deliver outstanding services for our children, young people and their families.

“It is wonderful to have this recognition through winning this award.

“It is a testament to the work of colleagues and partners whose passion and commitment has transformed our service by implementing significant changes and vast improvements.”

Councillor Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The award win is fantastic and what matters most is that everything we have done and will continue to do will have a positive impact on our children and young people.

“The strength of our partnership working is an integral part of this transformation.”

In its 2021 report, Ofsted also acknowledged the Council’s sustained investment in the workforce, allowing for additional staff and increased managerial support.