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East Riding children's services Ofsted report to be subject to "open and transparent" scrutiny by councillors

Date
Thu, 10 Sep 2020
Article

The findings of an inadequate Ofsted report into children's services in the East Riding are to be subject to "open and transparent" scrutiny by cross-party councillors.

Following the Ofsted inspection in December and the publication of the report in March, members from all parties had requested a review into the findings as a "matter of urgency".

Following the publication of the report, an improvement board was established and is chaired by an advisor from the Department of Education, who is working alongside senior officers at East Riding of Yorkshire Council to address the issues raised.

At a meeting today (Thursday, 10 September) of East Riding of Yorkshire Council's overview management committee, it was unanimously agreed by councillors that the most effective way to look at the findings was for the children and young people overview and scrutiny sub-committee to undertake an open and transparent review.

A recommendation was also unanimously agreed that a member of the opposition group be included on the improvement board.

Councillor Richard Meredith, chairman of the overview management committee, said; "Some members had expressed the view that a review should be taken by the way of a full review panel.

"But given the timescales, directives and pathway set out by the improvement board and the need for action to be taken as, and when necessary, between the next 12 to 18 months, it was felt that a full review panel would not be the most effective scrutiny method for reviewing this matter.

"Instead the most effective tool would be for the children and young people overview and scrutiny sub-committee to undertake the review by holding a number of additional meetings, which will be held in public, so they can examine the key areas of the Ofsted findings at the appropriate time and that fits in with the monitoring, assurance and action process."

Councillor Meredith added: "The unanimous agreement by members on the overview management committee is particularly important in highlighting that all concerns raised by councillors have been heard and accommodated."

Eoin Rush, director of children, families and schools at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, welcomed the recommendations and added: "The council is ambitious for its children and young people and wants every child to have the support that they need to reach their potential.

"This is why when the short Ofsted inspection in December last year identified a number of areas for improvement, the council immediately implemented a programme of work to address those issues.

"An improvement advisor was appointed by the Department for Education to work alongside senior leaders to provide robust support and challenge on our improvement plan in response to the Ofsted recommendations.

"This support and challenge, alongside regular monitoring visits from Ofsted, ensures that there is robust external scrutiny our services for children.

"We are not complacent about the work that needs to be done. Detailed improvement and development plans are now in place and significant work has been carried out in recent months to make significant strides forward.

"Our main priority is, and always has been, meeting the needs of children in the East Riding and our dedicated staff are as focused as ever on providing the best standard of care and support for them and their families."

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