Children’s services in South Gloucestershire require “significant improvement” despite an Ofsted report suggesting progress had been made.

The local authority’s social care services for children were judged “inadequate” in 2016.

Since then, inspectors have made regular checks on the services for children in need of help and protection, looked after children and care leavers.

Now, after the seventh and final monitoring inspection, Ofsted has judged the services to have improved sufficiently to be rated “requires improvement to be good”.

But the report published last week noted that the quality of the service for care leavers “has recently declined” and that, overall, “a significant improvement journey remains”.

Lead Ofsted inspector Emmy Tomsett wrote: “Recently accelerated progress against the improvement plan has ensured that outcomes for most children are now improving in most areas, but not all recommendations have been fully addressed.”

The report listed 13 areas requiring improvement, including how quickly preventative measures are put in place for children who are referred to the service, and how well care leavers are prepared for living independently.

It noted improvements in a number of areas such as the quality of direct work with children and reduced caseloads for social workers.

Cllr Jon Hunt, cabinet member responsible for children and young people at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “We are continuing to move in the right direction, but we do recognise there is still further to go in order to bring all social work practice to the same consistently high standards that the children we support deserve." 

The watchdog has ended its monitoring of South Gloucestershire’s children’s services, and inspectors are not due to visit again until the next full inspection.

Chris Sivers, the council’s director for children, adults and health, said: “Whilst Ofsted are comfortable they no longer need to visit us so regularly, we will maintain the same high levels of quality assurance to ensure we build on the progress we’ve already made."