Report to:


Date of meeting:

05 March 2024


Director of Children’s Services


Inspection of East Sussex local authority children’s services


This report sets out the outcome of the Council’s Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services in December 2023



Cabinet is recommended to:

1)    Welcome the findings of the inspection of the work of ESCC for children and young people which was published on 6 February 2024; and

2)    To note the action plan which is being developed to address the areas for improvement.


1          Background

1.1       East Sussex County Council was inspected by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) under the framework and evaluation schedule for Inspections of Local Authority Children’s Services (ILACS) from 11 – 15 December 2023.

2          Supporting information

2.1       The outcome of the inspection was published 6 February and is attached at Appendix 1.  The Council’s Children’s Services has been judged to be good overall and outstanding for the experiences and progress of children in care. This is a good outcome for the service and for the Council which has made keeping vulnerable people safe, a priority outcome.  It is a very welcome recognition of all the hard, determined, and high-quality work we have done since our last inspection, through a time of pandemic, its continuing effects, and cost of living pressures. The judgement for each area of the inspection is set out below:


Grade 2018 inspection

Grade 2023 inspection

The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families



The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection



The experiences and progress of children in care (and care leavers 2018)



The experiences and progress of care leavers (introduced in January 2023)



Overall effectiveness



2.2.      The inspectors spend most of their time with frontline staff and the inspection outcome reflects the difference staff make to the lives of children and young people in East Sussex.

2.3       The report notes:

‘Children in East Sussex continue to receive consistently strong and effective support that helps them to improve their lives. Since the last ILACS inspection in 2018, the authority has responded well to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing numbers of families experiencing financial hardship and the growing number children with complex needs who require help.’

2.4       The report highlighted key strengths including:

2.5       Ofsted provided a child friendly summary to inform children and young people about the inspection outcomes. This is attached at Appendix 2.  

2.6       The report identifies three areas for improvement:

2.7 The draft post-inspection action plan in response to the report is attached at Appendix 3. The final action plan will be shared with Ofsted by 17 May 2024.

3          Conclusion and recommendations

3.1       East Sussex has maintained a focus on the key priority outcome of keeping vulnerable people safe and responded well to the impact of the pandemic, increased demand and the challenging financial context for both families and the council. Cabinet is asked to note the contents of the inspection report and the draft action plan.



Director of Children’s Services


Contact Officer: Amanda Watson

Tel. No. 01273 481339