There is strong corporate leadership and ambition to improve services for children and their families at North Tyneside, reflected in a determined transformation programme of children’s services.
A focused inspection by Ofsted found senior leaders know the service well, and this is reflected in the local authority’s self-assessment.
“Inspectors found evidence of sound social work practice in the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) and social work assessment teams. Contacts and referrals are progressed in a timely manner. No children were found to be in situations of unassessed or unmanaged risk,” said the report.
Senior managers have been resolute in implementing a newly reconfigured and effective MASH over the last eight months. There is a strong commitment from a wide range of partner agencies and effective integration to the social work assessment teams, ensuring that children are safeguarded. Local authority staff have been effectively engaged with the service developments and value the leadership, support, supervision and training that is provided for them.
The report highlights that since the last Ofsted inspection in March 2017, senior managers and leaders have led an extensive transformation programme. This has seen the establishment of a fully functioning MASH, the very recent implementation of a new fit-for-purpose electronic system, and a whole-system approach to the introduction of a recognised and evidence-based model of practice.
“The stable staff group and the small team structure enable management grip of staffing issues and caseloads,” said the report. “Staff are extremely positive about working in North Tyneside and morale is high. They cite the support, supervision, training, clear career progression and the high visibility and approachability of senior managers as contributing to the positive learning culture in the council.”
Ofsted recommends that North Tyneside ensure that the key issues and rationale for decisions arising from designated officer meetings are clear, that support for the alleged perpetrator is identified and that actions have clear timescales for completion.
Fine tuning of the new electronic system is required to introduce consistency of practice across the service.
The authority should also ensure that manager guidance with clear timescales is provided at the outset of an assessment, the report concludes.
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