Government inspectors have given Swindon Borough Council’s Fostering Service a ‘good’ rating in their latest report.
Ofsted inspectors, who visited the service last November, judged the overall effectiveness of the service as ‘good’ and gave ratings for four distinct categories including:
Outcomes for children and young people
Quality of service
Safeguarding children and young people
Leadership and management
When describing the overall effectiveness of the service, inspectors wrote: “This local authority fostering service provides a good level of support for children and young people, who report that they feel safe and are looked after well, in accordance with their care plans.”
The report continues: “The service is staffed by experienced and knowledgeable social workers. Foster carers are supervised and well trained to enable them to care for children and young people to a high standard.
“There is a strong culture of community involvement, participation and consultation in this service, combined with a strong emphasis on children and young people’s well-being. This helps children and young people to make good progress and achieve good outcomes.”
The service was graded as ‘good’ in three of the four categories with its leadership and management described as “outstanding”.
The report raised two areas for improvement, namely that the reasons for recommending foster carers should be included in foster care panel minutes and that telephone verification checks are carried out as part of vetting new staff.
However, the report states that managers are aware of these issues and they have not had a significant impact on outcomes for young people.
Cllr David Renard, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Our fostering team work extremely hard to provide the best family placements for young people in our care and I’m pleased their efforts have been recognised by Ofsted.
“This report shows that children and young people in Swindon are benefiting from a high quality service. We were graded as ‘good’ during our last inspection in 2008, but Ofsted have recently introduced much more rigorous criteria so we are delighted we have improved in line with these new standards.”
The full report can be seen at www.ofsted.gov.uk