Supervision order on Sunderland's Children's Services lifted after 'outstanding' Ofsted review

A statutory supervision order imposed on Sunderland’s Children’s Services has been lifted after the city received an outstanding rating from Ofsted.

Monday, 20th December 2021, 2:01 pm

Sunderland became the first local authority in the country to go straight from inadequate to outstanding earlier this year.

City council bosses set up a new agency – Together for Children (TfC) – after a damning inspection report in 2015 highlighted problems across the board.

The city's children's services were made subject to statutory intervention in April 2017 and a follow-up review in 2018 found insufficient improvements to revise the ‘Inadequate’ grading.

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But following an Ofsted inspection visit in June, during which services were found to be 'transformed', they became the first children's services in the country to make the leap from inadequate to outstanding when the results of the investigation were confirmed in August.

Welcoming the lifting of the statutory direction, Together for Children chief executive Jill Colbert said: "The council and TfC Board are delighted with the Government’s confidence in the improved service for children and young people in Sunderland, which has resulted in the lifting of the direction.”

She praised staff for their hard work in transforming the service: “It really is testament to the tireless work of our services to do the right thing for children and families, who can now flourish in a properly resourced and well supported environment.”

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Together for Children chief executive Jill Colbert (left) and Cabinet Member for Children's Services Coun Louise Farthing

City council Cabinet Member for Children's Services Coun Louise Farthing added: "It's heartening to see Government recognition for the 'relentless dedication to improvement' in children's services in Sunderland.

"We want nothing but the best for our children and young people and we're determined to carry on doing everything we can to achieve that. I'd like to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of all the staff of TfC which has led to the Ofsted judgement and the lifting of the direction."

Having now achieved an outstanding rating, children’s services in the city will fall into routine monitoring by Ofsted which will see them receive a range of short visits on different topics. The next full inspection would usually take place within three years.

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