Report to:

Corporate Parenting Panel


Date of meeting:


24 April 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




The Corporate Parenting Panel is recommended to comment on and note the findings of the inspection and the draft action plan.


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 the service has done since the 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 is a reflection of 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 picks up the leadership of the Corporate Parenting Panel:


‘Support for vulnerable children is a priority for leaders and cross-party leadership of the Corporate Parenting Board demonstrates the collective will to do the right things for children and their families.’

2.5   Key strengths highlighted in the report include:

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

2.7       The report identifies three areas for improvement:

-      experiencing neglect, including children in Public Law Outline pre-proceedings, and

-      in private fostering arrangement

2.8    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 reasons for 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. The Corporate Parenting Panelis 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: 07701 024270