The children's services department at the Isle of Wight Council has kept its 'good' Ofsted rating, but has been told some areas require improvement.

'Too high' caseloads for staff, support for care leavers and management oversight in discrete areas are among the areas that need addressing.

The authority has welcomed the findings of the inspection, which took place between October 30 and November 3.

Overall, County Hall, and its partners at Hampshire County Council, were told most children and families continue to receive a good service, with improvements made since Ofsted's last visit five years ago.

However, it still 'requires improvement' in the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection as inspectors noted "recent deterioration in discrete areas of practice", with a lack of managerial oversight.

Inspectors found a ‘significant number’ of children were subject to repeat referrals and the support some have received had not made sustained improvements on their lives.

Most children’s assessments were comprehensive with helpful information but for some, they were closed too quickly.

The assessments also lacked relevant input from partners or thorough analysis meaning the cumulative impact of neglect and domestic abuse was not always recognised.

Inspectors saw investment and commitment to early help services, allowing families access to a wide variety which delivered the right support at an early stage.

When children and their families need help, social workers make sure this happens early, and this often stops problems from getting bigger.

When there are worries about the safety of a child, decisions are made quickly so children are protected.

Children in care benefit from consistently good support from committed and caring social workers and foster carers, they said.

From the age of 16, care leavers benefit from having personal advisors, who are committed to their young people and advocate well for them,  ensuring their needs are met.

However, inspectors said the local offer for care leavers — which provides information about all the services and support available to them —is not easily accessible.

They said: “It does not demonstrate a genuine commitment to support care leavers, nor does it show ambition and aspiration for them to succeed.”

The council has responded well to growing demands, inspectors said, but some social workers have much higher caseloads than senior leaders would like, which had a negative impact on some areas of practice.

Ofsted said the current electronic recording system has significantly hindered workers as it produces inaccurate data, is cumbersome, inefficient and does not support effective social work practice.

Inspectors said senior leaders told them there would be a new system shortly, but plans have been in place for some time to address it.

The children's services at the authority is currently run in partnership with Hampshire County Council, which is coming to an end in January.

Ofsted said the partnership has brought about stable and consistent leadership, where leaders are now focusing on achieving a seamless transition.

In a press statement, Stuart Ashley, the children's services director said it was a welcome outcome for the Island's most vulnerable children and a positive reflection of practitioners' and managers' strong work.

He said: "As with any inspection there is clearly learning and improvements we must make but I am delighted the partnership with Hampshire comes to an end on such a positive note.

"This also provides a solid foundation for the incoming director and I wish him, and the service, every success for the future."