Achieving for Children

Children’s services improvement

In 2012, children’s services in Kingston were inspected by Ofsted and rated as ‘inadequate’. Since taking over management of services in Kingston in 2014, we have transformed the quality of services. In August 2015, Kingston became one of the first areas in the country to jump two grades in one inspection, when Ofsted rated safeguarding and services for looked after children as ‘good’ across all inspection categories.

Ofsted highlighted particular strengths in:

  • management and leadership of our organisation;
  • the robust and ambitious approach to improvement planning and delivery; and
  • the progressive models we’ve developed to streamline referral and assessment to ensure that a preventative approach is consistently taken.

Building on the excellent work we have undertaken in Kingston, we have developed an improvement package to support local authorities in raising the quality and performance of children’s services in their area. We are already working with a number of authorities across the country and have been appointed as official improvement advisers to the Department for Education.

Our approach

When it comes to improvement, we don’t believe in applying sticking plasters to problem areas. We want to ensure that improvement is sustainable; that’s why we take a whole system approach which seeks to identify the root causes of problems so that we can support you to rebuild rom the ground up.

Our approach to the improvement journey comprises three phases: diagnosis, planning and delivery. Within each phase, our approach is tailored to the requirements of each local authority we work with. Typical activities include:

  • establishing quality and performance benchmarks through data analysis, case audits, and review of care pathways
  • conducting mock inspections or service reviews in order to assess existing strengths and weaknesses
  • developing a learning and improvement plan and performance management framework
  • developing a core set of management tools including performance data sets, a casework audit programme, and a quality assurance framework using AfC methodology
  • developing workforce development and recruitment and retention plans
  • establishing practice and innovation groups
  • leading business process reviews and service redesign work streams, providing the capacity and expertise to ensure that complex change is implemented
  • designing future governance arrangements and establishing an improvement board
  • stress testing improvements through themed audits, focus groups and case sampling
  • providing peer-to-peer support and action learning sets for senior leaders and practitioners throughout the improvement cycle helping to ensure you are ‘inspection ready’

Find out more

Whether you are awaiting an Ofsted inspection or have recently been through one, if you are interested in working with us to raise the quality and performance of your services, we would like to hear from you.

To get in touch, email us at

Achieving for Children