2019 Ofsted inspection report - 'Good in all areas'
“Most social workers are permanent and experienced employees. This is complemented by a continuous supply of both recently qualified and qualifying social workers, who unanimously endorse the high standard of support and early career development provided by the local authority.
Social workers’ morale across the service is high, and they are realising the benefits of smaller teams, continuous allocation to children, manageable caseloads and the considerable investment in their training and development. Social workers also appreciate the importance given to their emotional well-being and welfare through regular ‘check-ins’."
Continuous improvements and good practice
“Leaders and senior managers ensure that children and their families receive good-quality services that help to protect children and improve their day-to-day experiences of family life. Prioritising support to its vulnerable citizens is a core council priority. It achieves this through its energetic and ambitious senior leadership team, which uses this strong corporate support to concentrate on making continuous improvements at a lively pace.
The operational director for children’s social care (who also holds the role of deputy director of children’s services) is highly focused on ensuring that frontline staff and managers understand what makes good practice, and is determined in her role as practice leader to see this exemplified in all interventions with children and families.”
Skilled and well-trained frontline workers, substantially improving children's circumstances
“Children and their families are very well supported through an extensive range of early help services, provided by skilled and well-trained frontline workers. Consequently, the circumstances of many children substantially improve, and this avoids the need to step cases up to a higher level of statutory intervention...
- The MASH includes many co-located partners. The multi-agency environment facilitates swift information-sharing, and largely prompt and appropriate decisions are made concerning contacts and referrals.
- Children at risk of harm are protected by timely and rigorous responses from the MASH and the out-of-hours service.
- A recently implemented service structure ensures that children can receive support from the same social worker, from the point of an assessment through to the stage when the case is stepped down to early help or closed.
- A broad range of intensive interventions help children and families to address a range of complex difficulties, including neglect, domestic abuse and substance misuse.
When standards of parenting do not improve quickly enough to ameliorate risks to children and address their unmet needs, most cases are appropriately escalated to the pre-proceedings stage of the public law outline through well-recorded legal planning meetings. “