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

Improvement programme is embedding at Gloucestershire

The director of children’s services and the senior management team at Gloucestershire are providing clear direction and embedding a programme for improvement, which has resulted in improvements in practice.

A monitoring visit of Gloucestershire by Ofsted said that there continues to be significant financial investment and additional resourcing by the council in children’s services, and this investment is beginning to demonstrate improved service provision and outcomes for children.

“The local authority is making progress in improving services for children and young people,” said the report. “However, too many children continue to experience drift and delay in the assessment, planning and provision of services to meet their needs.”

The visit, which focused on children in care, found improvements since the last monitoring visit, although the quality of practice continues to be variable.

A minority of children experience placement breakdown due to poor early planning and intervention. Too many children experience delays in achieving permanence, and in some cases this has impacted on placement stability and children’s emotional well-being, it added.

The local authority has developed its offer to attract and retain staff and has increased the number of management posts to support and more effectively supervise social workers. However, there continues to be a high vacancy rate and turnover of staff, which has a negative impact on progressing children’s plans.

While the majority of social workers now have manageable caseloads, social workers do not always have the level of skills and experience required to recognise and provide effective interventions for children’s complex needs.

Inspectors highlighted:

  • The local authority recently established a process for managing children’s entry into care and early evidence shows that this process is effective in supporting robust decision-making and the appropriate application of legal thresholds.
  • Clear forward planning, engagement with professionals and effective coordination of services by social workers are making a difference for children, although this is not consistent.
  • The quality of assessments has improved overall, but assessments continue to be too variable and further improvements are necessary to ensure that children receive effective services within a timescale that is right for them.
  • There is an urgent need to ensure rigour in the completion of risk assessments, particularly when accommodating children with highly complex needs and those who have been sexually abused.
  • There continue to be delays in the completion of plans for children in care, and plans do not always assist effective care planning and decision-making.
  • Children’s reviews are not effective in considering progress or implementing plans to reduce risk and address children’s needs.

Ofsted said that social workers visit children regularly and children’s views and experiences are now more clearly captured in visit records. Visits are not, however, always purposeful and there are rarely any resulting actions, even where significant events or disclosures have occurred. Direct work with children is not yet widely embedded. Management capacity has been increased and a programme to improve opportunities for reflective supervision and increase managers’ understanding and oversight of performance information is in place.

“Since the last monitoring visit, there has been an improvement in staff morale,” said the report. “Social workers spoken to by inspectors were positive about the measures that have been introduced to improve their work environment and support the development of social work practice.”

“Social workers reported that their caseloads are manageable, that they have good access to managers and felt supported by regular supervision and welcome the introduction of technology to allow flexibility in mobile working,” the report concluded.

Gloucestershire monitoring visit


Knowledge & Resources

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

Referrals to children’s services rise following first lockdown


More than 600 vulnerable children a day were referred to local authorities’ children’s services in the months following the first lockdown, it has emerged.

The County Councils Network reported that 630 young people a day were referred to children’s services in the months after the first lockdown, which began in March 2020, as local authorities reported [...]

Read Full Story

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
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