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

Good progress highlighted at Darlington

Good progress has been made in improving services for looked-after children in Darlington, a monitoring visit has revealed.

In the fifth monitoring visit since the authority was rated inadequate in September 2015, Ofsted inspectors found a more stable workforce, compliance with statutory requirements has been achieved and the IRO service had been strengthened.

“New and improved systems track children’s progress from when they become looked after. Improved focus on permanence by the child’s second review is beginning to reduce drift and delay,” said inspectors. “As a short-term measure, children are now being accommodated appropriately under Section 20.”

The report highlights:

  • Senior managers show improved understanding and prioritisation of service strengths and areas for development.
  • Staff are being better supported to reach the right decision within a timeframe that meets the child’s best interests.
  • A placement stability strategy has been developed and its implementation is being monitored robustly by the head of service.
  • All social workers and managers in the LATC are now permanent. There is a high level of engagement by senior managers with social work teams.
  • Caseloads are more manageable and have reduced on average to 18.
  • New technology is supporting agile working and this is helping social workers to focus more on direct work with children and their families.
  • A more stable workforce has resulted in improved compliance.
  • Social workers and their managers are now receiving regular supervision.

Now that statutory requirements have been complied with, managers need to develop a more robust self-assessment process and improve focus on the quality and consistency of practice. Inspectors found that children’s specific needs and circumstances are not always thoroughly explored during their assessment.

Some assessments lack multi-agency input. Research is not used enough to inform evidence-based analysis about the best plan for the child. This means that care plans are not always focused on the right things or by the right professionals, inspectors warned.

“More emphasis now needs to be placed on ensuring that the impact of their scrutiny results in improved outcomes for children,” the report concluded.

Monitoring visit Darlington


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