CHILDREN’S services in Portsmouth have improved to be rated good by Ofsted.
Portsmouth City Council’s children social care team was visited by the watchdog and saw its 2014 rating go from requires improvement to good in all four areas inspected.
Ofsted found the department had coped with an increase in demand and effective planning had led to a more stable workforce.
They also found children had better outcomes after receiving good support at the right level.
But the council was told child protection plans had to be clearer and improve the length of time children were subject to pre-proceedings.
Alison Jeffery, director for Children's Service, said: ‘The report is a credit to our social workers and early help staff, and what they achieve for the city's young people.
‘I'd like to thank all our staff for the commitment and dedication they show every day.
‘We are determined to build on this and keep improving.’
During their inspection, Ofsted looked at the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families, the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection, the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers and overall effectiveness.
The report said: ‘Early help assessments and plans successfully capture children’s needs and lead to a range of effective support.
‘Children are appropriately referred to social work services when their needs increase.
‘A stable and sufficient workforce ensures that social workers have the capacity to visit children proportionately to their needs.’
It added: ‘The local authority’s well-embedded restorative model of practice draws on families’ strengths, focusing on maintaining children in their families wherever possible.
‘Social workers have good relationships with children. Children’s wishes and feelings are actively sought and acted on.’
Councillor Rob Wood, cabinet member for children's services called the result ‘excellent’ and said the team’s work is child-centred and partnership focused.
Ofsted found the growing number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children becoming looked after has had an impact on the availability of placements in the city.
This means not as many children live as close to their homes and families as the council would like.
‘Senior leaders are tackling this through an ambitious sufficiency plan, which is well-thought-out and well managed but is not yet having enough impact,’ it said.