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Children: Social Services

Question for Department for Education

UIN 21917, tabled on 27 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the outcomes of the SEND local area inspection and inspection of children’s social care services at Kingston upon Hull City Council, whether his Department has provided (a) staff and (b) financial support to that local authority to improve children’s services.

Answered on

5 March 2020

The government is providing local authorities with an additional £1 billion for adult and children’s social care in every year of this Parliament.

The Department for Education has not provided any funding directly to the local authority to improve Children’s Social Care. Prior to the May 2019 Ofsted inspection report, the regional lead for Yorkshire and the Humber met with Hull City Council on several occasions to discuss support. During this time, Hull City Council was in receipt of support from North Yorkshire County Council as a Partner in Practice (PiP), funded by the Department. In February 2019, Hull City Council also paid for support from another PiP, Essex County Council.

In May 2019, the Department issued an improvement notice and appointed an improvement adviser, Paul Moffat, to support and challenge Hull City Council’s improvement journey in line with established policy set out in the ‘Putting Children First’ guidance, which is available here:

Mr Moffat was previously the Chief Executive of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust. He has a strong background in improving children’s services, taking Doncaster’s Children’s Services Trust’s Ofsted rating from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Good’ in three years. The Department also funded North Yorkshire County Council and Essex County Council to provide support to Hull City Council on a number of areas, equating to an investment of approximately £80,000 in 2019-20.

The joint Ofsted and CQC special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) local area revisit to Kingston upon Hull in October 2019, published on 23 December 2019, found that sufficient improvement had been made in two out of the four significant weaknesses identified in the October 2017 inspection. In 2018-19, the Department provided Kingston upon Hull with a SEND implementation grant of £140,968 to support the implementation of the SEND reforms. The Department has also funded training and resources from delivery partners, including Whole School SEND, Contact and the Council for Disabled Children, and a dedicated SEND adviser to provide support and challenge to the local area to improve their SEND services.