OFSTED praises Kingston Council and Achieving for Children following two day inspection

Kingston Council and Achieving for Children (AfC) have been praised by OFSTED inspectors, following a two day focused visit in March (19-20) looking at services to protect vulnerable adolescents.

During their visit, inspectors looked at how AfC, which provides these services on behalf of the council, protects young people from sexual and criminal exploitation, gang involvement, missing children, radicalisation, trafficking and modern slavery. Following the visit - which included case discussions with social workers, meetings with senior managers and an audit of recent case records - the inspectors found that AfC provides effective support and protection for vulnerable adolescents in the borough.

The inspectors commented that young people benefit from strong relationships with skilled social workers and from specialist, accessible and well-resourced help - highlighting AfC’s innovative Youth Resilience Service as a real strength. Inspectors said social workers and other professionals had a comprehensive understanding of the range of risks which young people encounter and take appropriate action to reduce those risks. They also acknowledged that AfC knew their young people well, who benefited from these positive relationships.

The inspectors did suggest areas for improvements, including the education arrangements for vulnerable adolescents, how visits and safety plans were written up to capture and minimise risks and the need to consider impact for children and young people better.

Councillor Diane White, Kingston Council's portfolio holder for Children’s Services and Education, said:

“We welcome the findings and report from OFSTED which highlights the strong support that our most vulnerable young people receive from social workers and early help teams in AfC. They recognised the standards, practice, commitment and professionalism of our staff. We value the inspectors’ feedback and will take on their recommendations to further improve an already good service. We are committed to delivering a service that puts the needs of children and young people first.”

Under OFSTED's inspection framework, all local authorities receive a focused visit. The new approach allows OFSTED to prioritise inspection where it is most needed and instead of a graded judgement at the end of the visit, publishes a letter which sets out strengths and areas for improvement to the local authority. You can read their letter outlining the findings