July 25, 2022

Wakefield Council wins national award for transformation of Children’s Services

Cllr Margaret Isherwood with staff from Wakefield Council's Children and Young People's Services
Cllr Margaret Isherwood, back row third left, with staff from Wakefield Council's Children and Young People's Services

Wakefield Council has won a national award for its work to transform its children’s services.

The LGC Awards is one of the preeminent public sector awards in the country and after a record number of entries the Council has been named as the winner of the Children’s Services category.

LGC judges noted in their comments how ‘key features that stood out were: impact supported by robust data across numerous metrics, an engaged and enthusiastic workforce supported by their innovative learning academy, the creation of a ‘safe space’ for social workers to practice and clear vision of next steps in achieving an outstanding status’.

The Children’s Services category aims to recognise Councils that are ambitious, with a strategic approach to children’s services; that have developed a quality relationship with schools, the health service, and other key agencies; and are making an impact on the lives of children and young people.

Wakefield’s win follows taking itself from an inadequate rating across the board in 2018, to being judged three years later as soundly Good in every area, with outstanding leadership – believed to be one of the fastest improvements of a Council maintained children’s services in the country.

Regular consultation, work with partners, and innovative thinking was key to the Council’s transformation and remains critical to continued improvement.

Its leadership was recognised for working ‘tirelessly’ to continually drive forward improvements, resulting in the delivery of good-quality services and sustained improved progress for children.

Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council said: “Our goal is to deliver outstanding services for our children, young people and their families.

“It is wonderful to have this recognition through winning this award. It is a testament to the work of colleagues and partners whose passion and commitment has transformed our service by implementing significant changes and vast improvements.”

Cllr Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The award win is fantastic and what matters most is that everything we have done and will continue to do will have a positive impact on our children and young people.

“The strength of our partnership working is an integral part of this transformation; in the work they do to look after the children and young people who they support.”

In its 2021 report Ofsted also acknowledged the Council’s significant and sustained investment in the workforce allowing for additional staff, increased managerial support and a visible and approachable leadership team.

This alongside the Council’s relationships with partners, and a new Learning Academy contribute to what Ofsted called an “unstinting focus” on improvement.

It stated that ‘workers are, without exception, very enthusiastic about working for Wakefield’. And that workers recognise and celebrate the progress that has been made and ‘want to be part of the continued drive to further improve the quality and effectiveness of services to children’.

Partnership working was reported as a strength at both strategic and operational levels. In addition, ‘good understanding of thresholds’ and ‘joined-up thinking’ through the vision of Wakefield Families Together was highlighted as ‘having a positive impact on children and families’.

People interested in working for an award-winning and Ofsted Good children’s services, can  find the latest jobs available at http://bit.ly/WFCYPcareers (opens the Wakefield Council website)

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