Ofsted confirms Suffolk County Council’s Outstanding Children’s Services as authority achieves highest rating possible


Ofsted inspectors have awarded Children’s Services at Suffolk County Council its top grade of ‘Outstanding' following their visit in April 2019.

Ofsted’s Inspection report of children’s Social Care and Early Help services said:

“The work that staff are doing with children and young people is impressive; the way that they are doing it is making a real difference to their lives.”

This achievement reflects the significant positive impact that the authority’s leaders in social work practice make, supporting vulnerable children and families. Ofsted also praised the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection.

Inspectors were impressed with improvements made across the service since it was rated ‘Good’ in 2015. The report confirms services for children are of an "exceptionally high standard". They are "child-focused and make a positive difference to their lives. Children receive consistently strong support and are at the centre of decision making."

The authority’s "stable and aspirational leadership" is also praised alongside its staff and partnerships it has with agencies who support the work of the team.

Inspectors commended the staff, highlighting that "workers build positive and purposeful working relationships with children and their families. They ensure children are safeguarded, and that their wider needs are addressed. They consistently act to ensure the best outcome for children."

Inspectors praised the council’s ethos within its children’s services, saying "the local authority consistently demonstrates, through its range of help and protection services, its commitment to supporting parents to bring up their children safely and successfully."

In relation to Special Educational Needs, the inspectors recognised that the county council had "laid firm foundations for services to develop" and "services for vulnerable children in receipt of social services meet children’s and their families’ needs effectively".

Allan Cadzow, Corporate Director for Children and Young People at Suffolk County Council, said:

“We are over the moon to receive such a high rating from Ofsted. This really shines a light on the great work that our staff deliver, day in day out, often in difficult circumstances, to support the most vulnerable children and families in Suffolk.

“A rating of Outstanding puts Suffolk right up with the highest performing authorities in the country for children’s services. I am very proud that our passion, professionalism and commitment has been recognised and our staff should be rightfully proud of what they have achieved. 

“We work extremely hard to look after all our children in Suffolk and we are committed to delivering the highest quality service to ensure they benefit from the best support, care and education we can provide. We intend to get even better.”

Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills at Suffolk County Council said:

“An Outstanding Ofsted judgement for our Children’s Services is an amazing and well-deserved achievement for Suffolk. “I would like to thank everyone who delivers outstanding services to support young people in Suffolk, it is most rewarding to receive such endorsement from Ofsted. Our staff are compassionate, professional and sensitive to the needs of the residents they support.

“I do accept that we need to do more for Suffolk’s children with additional needs, and we are taking swift and effective action to address both the current shortfall of SEND services in our county, but also to build capacity with our partners for the future.

“All children have the right to the appropriate level of support they need to aspire and achieve, and I am committed to ensuring that this is the reality for all of Suffolk’s young people, including our most vulnerable children.”

Read the full Ofsted report (PDF).