Agenda item

OFSTED INSPECTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITY CHILDREN'S SERVICES (ILACS)

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “Q”) provides updated information about the Council’s response to the OFSTED ILACS judgement published.

 

Recommended -

 

(1)          That the actions taken in response to OFSTED inspection findings be noted.

 

(2)          That the plans to establish the Improvement Board be noted and comments be provided.

 

(3)          That the Committee monitors the Improvement Plan at regular intervals.

.

(Jim Hopkinson – 01274 432904)

Decision:

Resolved-

 

(1)       That the actions taken in response to the September 2018 Ofsted Inspection findings be noted.

 

(2)       That the establishment of the Improvement Board be noted.

 

(3)       That the monitoring of the Improvement Plan is placed on the Committee’s Work Programme as a standing item for each meeting.

 

Action:           Overview and Scrutiny Lead

 

                                                            (Jim Hopkinson – 01274 432904)

Minutes:

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “Q”) provided updated information about the Council’s response to the OFSTED ILACS judgement published.

 

It was reported that the Department for Education had written formally to serve the Council with an Improvement Notice.

 

Members were informed that under the leadership of the Portfolio Holder for Children & Families, and in consultation with other councillors, DfE, OFSTED and the Local Government Association (LGA), there had been progress in establishing the approach to addressing the key areas for improvement identified by OFSTED and the necessary supporting arrangements were as follows:

·                Establishment of the Improvement Board. An Improvement Advisor was identified by the DfE and would be invited to chair the Improvement Board. Draft Terms of Reference and proposed membership of the Board were attached at Appendix 3 of the report. The Chair of Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been asked to consider joining the Improvement Board. The work of the Board to secure the improvement of Children’s Services identified by OFSTED would be supported by a staff and a children’s reference groups, as well as established internal and partner officer working groups. The Board’s Terms of Reference would also need to be approved by DfE/OFSTED.

·                Development of our Improvement Plan. With the voice of the child at its heart, improvement planning had been a key focus of activity, involving staff at all levels in Children’s Services, with the support of corporate resources (Finance, HR, Legal and Performance) and in consultation with partners.  A Planning workshop was scheduled with Ofsted on 10th December 2018 to help inform the Improvement Plan.  A Statement of Action must be submitted to Ofsted by 4th February 2019.

 

It was reported that as set out in the Improvement Notice, the Council was now subject to intervention by the Department for Education (DfE) until services improved. OFSTED would monitor the progress regularly and the Service would be subject to a full re-inspection within two years.  Key actions and milestones included:

·                     Establishment of the Children’s Social Care Improvement Board once membership and Terms of Reference are approved by both DfE/OFSTED and Executive.

·                     Producing a draft Statement of Action for discussion at the OFSTED planning meeting.

·                     Submit a full Statement of Action (Deadline for submission: 4 February 2019).

·                   Support a monitoring visit (which will take place 3 months after our publication of inspection i.e. January)

·                   Quarterly monitoring would continue until the Council had an inspection and moved into a different pathway (ie good or above)

 

In response to a Member’s question it was reported that the Service did not record the evidence that all foster carers had undertaken training; a database had been created to track training; the service prided itself in how it supported foster carers but the concerns in the report related to recording of mandatory training of foster carers; Ofsted would be reviewing the Services assessment processes closely and reviewing signs of safety and how that was being used; the service was undertaking training to ensure that signs of safety model were being applied consistently. 

 

It was reported that the Ofsted inspection highlighted that social work practices across locality teams varied in both quality and impact; some children had been on child protection plans longer than they should have been; Bradford had a lower number on child protection than statistical neighbours; child protection cases had gone up in the last 6 months and was now above the national average and below the statistical neighbours.

 

In response to a Member’s questions it was reported that signs of safety was a model about decision making, Ofsted had commented on the application of that model.

 

Members questioned what progress had been made with children leaving care without access to key documents such as their health passports, national insurance numbers and passports.  In response the Deputy Director Children’s Social Care reported that this was an area that the service was trying to address.

 

In response to Members questions it was reported that the training on Regulation 44 visits would be circulated to Members through the Overview and Scrutiny Lead.

 

A Member suggested that the key to improving social workers was continued professional development, Ofsted highlighted quality of reports was not good enough, quality of evidence not good enough etc these were areas that could be addressed through continuous personal development.

 

In response to the continuous personal development of social workers it was reported that monthly development sessions were held with social workers; work was undertaken with Bradford College and Bradford University on developing social workers; some social workers did not have time to access training which was a challenge the service was working on; social workers were receiving relevant training to develop their skills.

 

Resolved-

 

(1)       That the actions taken in response to the September 2018 Ofsted Inspection findings be noted.

 

(2)       That the establishment of the Improvement Board be noted.

 

(3)       That the monitoring of the Improvement Plan is placed on the Committee’s Work Programme as a standing item for each meeting.

 

Action:           Overview and Scrutiny Lead

 

                                                           

Supporting documents: