SCC Somerset County Council

Vulnerable children in Somerset are now receiving a good service from the county council following improvements, the watchdog says.

Ofsted has published its latest report, following an inspection in June.

Children and families received good quality services in Somerset, it found, and council bosses were praised for their work during the Covid pandemic.

The services had been rated ‘inadequate’ in 2015 and ‘requiring improvement’ in 2017.

The inspection covered social services for children and families, including those at risk and taken into care, as well as services for young people leaving care.

Investing in more managers had “resulted in greater consistency of practice” and preventative services were “making a real difference for children,” the report added.

It also said “children’s identities are particularly well understood by professionals, and children are central to their plans”.

Inspectors also found senior children’s services managers were aware of where improvements continue to be needed, including sourcing more emergency placements for older children with complex needs.

Services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are inspected separately, and last time were found to need improvements.

Bill Revans, leader of the Liberal Democrat-run county council, welcomed the new rating.

“Perhaps the thing that gives me greatest delight about this good rating is Ofsted’s appreciation that the excellence of the service is based on listening to the views of young people and families and developing a service that works for them,” he said.

In May, the Liberal Democrats won control of the council from the Conservatives, who had led the authority since 2009.

Cllr Tessa Munt, Lib Dem lead executive member for children and families, said: “This rating is the result of an enormous effort by a remarkable and dedicated staff team who support young people in the county.”

She added: “We are not complacent, and we are ambitious for our services to be ‘outstanding’.”


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