Leaders in Lincolnshire are ambitious for children in care and prioritise resources to support social work to flourish, Ofsted has said.
Inspectors highlighted that this results in stable and experienced teams who deliver high-quality social work which improves outcomes for children in Lincolnshire.
“Strong use of children’s networks of family and friends results in a high proportion of children appropriately leaving care through special guardianship,” said the report.
It outlined that:
- Children benefit from trusting relationships with their social workers, who know them well.
- Most children’s care plans are coherent, outcome focused and measurable.
- Children’s contact arrangements with families support them to retain their important relationships.
- Assessments of special guardians are comprehensive and appropriately consider children’s longer-term needs.
- IROs regularly review children’s planning at well-attended multi-agency meetings.
- IROs focus appropriately on children’s permanence plans and the majority of these are outlined at the second review.
- The local authority successfully promotes its corporate parenting responsibilities.
Most children benefit from stable homes, with the majority of children living with foster carers recruited and supported by Lincolnshire council. Social workers work well together to assess, train and support foster carers to care for their children. Foster carers’ relationships with children are carefully considered in matching decisions.
Children are supported to return home to the care of their parents as appropriate. However, there is a poor application of placement with parents’ regulations, and a small group of children have not had their arrangements robustly reviewed
The local authority is aware that care proceedings take too long as the current average is a duration of 39 weeks. There have been capacity issue in the courts and consequently, it is taking too long for children to have their adoptions finalised and permanence is delayed. Senior leaders have taken assertive action, Ofsted noted, but it is too early to see the impact of this.
“Senior leaders provide a good working environment to support social work to flourish. Manageable workloads, regular supervision and appropriate training and development opportunities contribute to a supportive environment for social workers who are committed to working for Lincolnshire. Investment in an ambitious electronic child case recording system is bringing together children’s records, but further work is needed to ensure that the system is effective,” the report concluded.