WillisPalmer launches Remote Assessment Service

WillisPalmer have launched a Remote Assessment Service to deliver social work assessments safely during COVID pandemic.

Read more
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Assessments variable at Sandwell Council

Assessments and care plans for looked-after children in Sandwell are of variable and often poor quality, a monitoring visit of the authority found.

Plans are not specific enough, and do not focus on all risks, or the complexity, of a child’s needs and behaviour. In particular, for too many children, permanence planning is not yet sufficiently timely or robust, Ofsted stated.

Until very recently, the pace of change in Sandwell has been too slow, and the local authority has made insufficient progress in improving services for the children and young people it looks after, the fifth monitoring visit since the local authority was judged inadequate in February 2015 found.

As a result, there are too many looked-after children in Sandwell not receiving the service they should from the authority, said Ofsted.

However it highlighted that: “Since the last monitoring visit, the local authority has invested in increasing capacity in the senior leadership team and social work establishment. After a slow start, significant focus has been applied to growing the permanent workforce through a coherent and comprehensive range of recruitment and retention activities.”

It highlighted that:

  • While caseloads still remain too high, they are continuing to reduce towards a manageable level
  • Social workers report being well supported by their managers
  • There is now consistent evidence of regular supervision
  • There is clear management oversight of social work practice
  • Social workers are passionate about their work with children and they know them well
  • Morale is improving
  • All workers, including agency staff, report good access to training and development opportunities.

The local authority has established an audit framework that includes both regular, individual case and themed audits. The quality of some audits has been variable, and in some cases overly harsh judgements were made, which did not take into account the recent improvements in practice.

The report also highlighted that until recently, thresholds, with respect to children becoming looked after, have not been consistently applied. Some children have remained in appropriately placed in private family arrangements for too long. Equally, some children have remained in section 20 arrangements for too long in circumstances where no one was effectively taking parental responsibility for them.

The report following the monitoring visit concluded that a new sufficiency strategy is now in place, focused on improving the range of local placement options for children. The local authority has a keen awareness of its current position and future needs, and has set a number of priorities for the next three years.

Monitoring visit of Sandwell


Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

More court days for family cases this year despite restrictions


There have been more court sitting days taking place on family cases this year than in any previous year, despite the lockdown, the president of the family courts division has said.

In his ‘View from the Chambers,’ Andrew McFarlane said this level of activity is necessary as it is not possible to conduct as many cases [...]

Read Full Story

Half of Youth Offending Services require improvement


Improvements are required in more than half of the Youth Offending Services inspected this year, according to the HM Inspectorate of Probation.

Of the 16 Youth Offending Services inspected, eight required improvement while one, Cardiff, was rated inadequate.

Chief Inspector Justin Russell said: “It is disappointing that the overall quality of the youth offending services we have [...]

Read Full Story

Highest number of children’s homes registered could be in response to COVID


The highest number of children’s homes were registered by Ofsted between April and August, potentially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ofsted registered 176 new children’s homes between 1 April and 31 August, the highest number recorded in that period. This follows a continued increase in registrations year on year since at least 2015 and a [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us
closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram