The East Riding of Yorkshire Council leader’s column with Stephen Parnaby OBE

Kevin Hall, director of children families and schools, far left, and Councillor Julie Abraham, portfolio holder for children, young people and education, far right, with some of the Pathway Team members, from left, Courtney Morrell, Tom Gregory, Dominique Webster, Ben Daniels, Sue Smyth, Pam Lambert and Janet Barrick.
Kevin Hall, director of children families and schools, far left, and Councillor Julie Abraham, portfolio holder for children, young people and education, far right, with some of the Pathway Team members, from left, Courtney Morrell, Tom Gregory, Dominique Webster, Ben Daniels, Sue Smyth, Pam Lambert and Janet Barrick.

It is with a huge amount of pride that I am able to say East Riding of Yorkshire Council is among the top five local authorities in the country when it comes to supporting young people leaving the care system.

An Ofsted inspection of our children’s services work rated it either good or outstanding in all categories, which is fitting testament to all the hard work which goes on day in, day out by our dedicated workforce.

Safeguarding children and ensuring they have the best possible chance of a good life in our care, and after leaving our care, is one of the most important things the council does.

So it is particularly heartening to hear that these young people gave fantastic feedback to the Ofsted inspectors.

The message they gave was that they would not be where they are now – living quality lives – were it not for the council’s efforts, which is so heartening and rewarding to hear.

Ofsted inspections are comprehensive and rigorous so this report is something all the staff should be proud of.

The Outstanding rating was for the council’s Pathway Care Leaver team and the work it does to earn the trust of these youngsters and give them the tools and support they need to make good life choices.

We heard from Ofsted that care leavers had heaped praise on the service for what it had done to improve their lives, making them feel very safe and happy. The Pathway team works specifically to support 16 to 25-year-olds on the verge of leaving care and venturing into the “big, wide world”.

The team helps them find suitable accommodation and supports them with education, training and employability skills, as well as forging links with local employers and colleges.

Some of these young people haven’t been in care for very long but others have for most, if not all, their lives and an important part of the council’s responsibility to them is rewarding their achievements, which includes regular celebration events.

It all pays off. Statistics show that 69% of care leavers in the East Riding were in training or employment in 2015/2016 – much higher than the 48% national average.

The very positive Ofsted rating of the council’s children services – which includes adoption, fostering, children’s centres, youth and family services and much more besides, as well as the East Riding Safeguarding Children Board – is thoroughly well deserved.