The improvement in the performance of Swindon Borough Council’s children’s services has drawn praise from the highest reaches of government.

Kemi Badenoch MP, the minister for children and families at the Department for Education has written to the council’s leader David Renard congratulating him and the authority’s staff on receiving a ‘good’ assessment form Ofsted following being told in 2014 it ‘required improvement’.

Ms Badenoch wrote: I want to commend staff at all levels on their hard work and commitment over the last 12 months.”

The MP for Saffron Walden had specific praise for the quality of leadership and management and the council’s director of children's services, David Haley, and support from managers and councillors “which has enabled significant improvements to be made.

“I trust the sharp focus on improving outcomes for children will continue with enthusiasm. Particularly for children in care and care leavers.”

She identified further areas for improvement, particularly for local placements for older children and preparing those leaving council care for independent living and added: “The report shows the council is very well-placed to address these areas swiftly and continue its improvement.”

Euclid Street’s cabinet member for children, Mary Martin was pleased with the letter: “It’s very pleasing when people take the time to do something like this,

“It’s always helpful to get some encouragement like this, and it gives everyone a chance to pause. People have worked very hard and had to cope with a lot of changes and every once in a while it’s nice to be able to take stock and be reminded of what’s been done well.

“Then we have to think about what we have to do to be outstanding, because that’s where we want to be.”

Mr Haley said he hoped the good rating, and praise from ministers would also help with the council’s push to attract more social workers to become permanent staff.

He said: “The report recognises that staff morale is high with a strong learning culture and conditions that help social workers to do a good job.This is testament to the determination, commitment of hard work of staff across the council.”

As well as a push to recruit and retain more social workers, the council is hoping to get more people to sign up to be foster carers for children.To find out more visit