There are many things councils do. But we can’t think of many which are as important as safeguarding our children, and providing them with the best start in life.
So it’s a source of real pride that Leeds under its Labour Council won the award this last week – as the best provider of Children’s Services in the country.
This is a huge turn around from the situation in 2009 – when inspectors rated the city’s services as inadequate.
The Labour administration which took over in 2010 made children and their safety a high priority.
This award is a measure of their success – and of the hard work and dedication of all those who work with and for Leeds’ children.
At the 20th annual Local Government Chronicle Awards, one of the most prestigious events in the local government calendar, Leeds City Council’s children’s services department was presented with the ‘Children’s Services’ award.
A panel of judges, made up of senior and influential figures from the public sector, decided Leeds City Council was the top authority for its innovative approach and work to make a difference to the lives of children and young people.
The judges commented on “A genuinely ambitious programme reaching out to all children and young people across the city, through concerted interagency drive and an obvious clarity of leadership.”
Judith Blake, Labour leader of Leeds City Council was delighted:
“This is fantastic recognition for all of the staff who work so hard to make Leeds the best place for children to grow up in. This award is for the people who teach, protect, raise ambition and aspirations, people who go the extra mile to give Leeds children the best start in life.
“This is one of the most prestigious awards in local government and we were up against some very high quality opposition. We are very proud that the judges recognised what we do here in Leeds to make a real difference in the lives of children.”
Of the core cities inspected by Ofsted so far, Leeds is the only one to have its children’s services rated as ‘good’ overall with ‘outstanding’ leadership, management and governance.
In December 2015, the government acknowledged Leeds as having an ‘exemplar’ children’s services.
Leeds is now one of just three local authorities chosen to be part of the Department for Education’s ‘improvement framework’, and is working to support other local councils.
Since the inspection, more than one third of all local authorities have visited Leeds to find out more about how we do things here – and how we’ve managed to turn failure into nationally-recognised success in just 6 years.
Leeds Labour Council is supporting children to have the best start in life.
The figures speak for themselves
• The number of children in care has reduced by 14.8% between March 2012 and October 2015 – compared to a national increase of 3.7% between March 2012 to March 2015. This not only improves outcomes for children, it has also saved approximately £15m between April 2012 and November 2015.
• Between July 2011 and October 2015 the figure for young people Not in Education, Employment or Training [NEETS] has reduced by 34.6% or 744 children.
But the council is not resting on its – well earned – laurels.
• In November, a £45m council investment was approved to create world class provision on four sites for pupils with social and emotional mental health needs through a new academy.
• It has also launched Leeds Baby Steps to deliver perinatal support and education to families with complex lives.
And the Child Friendly Leeds campaign goes from strength to strength. It has celebrated its third birthday- and now has the support of over 350 ambassadors.
On May 5 you’ll have a chance to vote – in Local Council and Police Commissioner elections.
Labour in Leeds has delivered – and that’s been recognised nationally.
Make sure Labour has the chance to go on doing the best for the people of Leeds.