Agenda item

PROGRESS UPDATE FOLLOWING THE OFSTED INSPECTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES CHILDREN'S SERVICES (ILAC) - IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of children’s Services (Document “AG”) will  provide the Committee with a progress update in respect of improvements identified within the Ofsted Improvement Plan, namely:

 

Improving the quality of social work practice across the service areas

(Theme 1 being Front Door)

 

Recommended -

 

That this Committee note the contents of Document “AG”.

 

(Anne Chester-Walsh - 01274 432904)

 

Decision:

Resolved -

 

That the contents of Document “AG” be noted.

 

(Anne Chester-Walsh - 01274 432904)

 

Minutes:

The report of the Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services (Document “AG”) provided the Committee with a progress update in respect of improvements identified within the Ofsted Improvement Plan, namely:

 

Improving the quality of social work practice across the service areas

(Theme 1 being Front Door)

 

Members were advised that the next monitoring visit would take place on 11 and 12 June and would focus on Children in Need and children subject to Child Protection Plans.

 

The Chair expressed his disappointment that basic procedures and principles in the service had been allowed to slip.  The Interim Strategic Director commented that with a high turnover of staff, the basics tended to be carried out less well.  She added that starting with the basics should make it easier to get everything else right.  She stressed that some staff were doing the basics well and they would be used as role models.

 

The Interim Assistant Director referred to the introduction of team health checks that would assist managers in recognising what performance looked like currently and how to evidence and monitor performance.  She added that in each team every case file would be monitored through team health checks.

 

In response to a member question she confirmed that, of the case files monitored 50% required improvement, 30% required small adjustments and 20% required additional work.  The goal was that at least 80% of files would be compliant

 

The Interim Strategic Director noted that some homeless young people had not been given the option to become looked after and that this had now been made explicit to all workers and that the team had been moved to the front door and MASH to ensure a consistent approach.  All accommodation options were being reviewed for this group to ensure a sufficiency of supply and range of accommodation. 

 

A member asked whether monitoring would improve responses to requests for social workers to work with schools.  The Interim Assistant Director stressed that the authority wanted to hear from all partners such as schools, health, voluntary sector and probation to identify what it was getting right and what needed improvement.

 

A member asked about the number of agency staff, team morale and recording using electronic templates.   The Interim Assistant Director responded that 25% - 30% of the workforce were agency staff.  She added that the Back to Basics training would be part of the induction training for all staff.  The electronic system of templates were to be streamlined.  The morale of social workers was mixed, it had improved in the front door and MASH but there were still social workers with caseloads that were not as they should be.  She added that less than 7 staff in the Children and Families Team had over 25 cases.

 

The Chair acknowledged the work of the Interim Strategic Director and Interim Assistant Director and their teams in moving the service in the right direction.  The Interim Strategic Director recognised the team effort and support from colleagues, staff and members in challenging, scrutinising and investing in the service. 

 

In response to a member question about the timescale for recruiting permanent staff the Interim Assistant Director stressed that the authority was competing with other authorities and that a recruiting campaign was needed to employ staff who were already social workers and introduce peer uplifts.

 

Resolved -

 

That the contents of Document “AG” be noted.

 

ACTOIN: Interim Strategic Director Children’s Services

 

 

 

 

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