Government inspectors have praised the council's children's services following a visit last month.
Between Wednesday, 9 January 2019 and Thursday, 10 January 2019 Ofsted conducted a focused visit of the council's response to referrals to children's social care services. The inspection included examination of the early help and safeguarding hub, the response provided to children in need of help and protection, the quality of social work practice and the work of the first response team. Inspectors spent most of their time with practitioners and examined the difference they and their work makes to children.
In a letter to the council Ofsted praised the prompt and effective response children who are, or who are likely to be at risk of harm get. They also commented on how the 'consideration of the children's needs is as the centre of all work'.
'It is great that Ofsted has recognised the significant progress we have made.'
Councillor Kieran Heakin, Cabinet member for Children's Services said, "It is great that Ofsted has recognised the significant progress we have made. We know we still have some work to do and we will continue to work hard to make improvements. I'd like to thank staff for their hard work."
Inspectors also described the strong partnership working in Rochdale borough as a real strength and that political leadership and senior management are child-focused and that the progress made is 'evidenced through improvements in outcomes for children' in the borough.
They noted marked improvements since the last visit in January 2018, particularly with the early help and safeguarding hub which inspector's said provides 'a timely and effective service for children and families'. They also noted how complex safeguarding issues are dealt with swiftly and sensitively by the team who 'use specialist knowledge to support the child and family and so reduce risks.'
'I'm really proud of the progress made and this gives us a great basis to continue to improve. All of our practitioners work extremely hard in what are challenging roles.'
Gail Hopper, director of children's services at Rochdale Borough Council and the professional complex safeguarding lead for Greater Manchester, said: "I'm really proud of the progress made and this gives us a great basis to continue to improve. All of our practitioners work extremely hard in what are challenging roles. Their work and their ability to put children at the centre impressed the inspectors who could also see the impact of training, support from managers and evidence that our quality assurance process monitors and supports improvement. Our teams are really committed to getting the best outcomes for children, young people and families across the borough. We are not complacent having received such positive feedback, because we are continuing to build on this to develop the strongest possible service, but we're really pleased that Ofsted have recognised this."
'Particular praise was given to the council's 'Safe After School' campaign, which gives advice and guidance on out-of-school activities.'
Inspectors also said that safeguarding allegations reported to the council are managed well. Particular praise was given to the council's 'Safe After School' campaign, which gives advice and guidance on out-of-school activities. The work being done with families and in the community as part of the campaign meant the issue was being kept at the front of people's minds, Ofsted said.
Read the full Ofsted children's service report (337kb pdf)