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

Kent improves front door service

Kent Council children's services has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of the front door service, according to Ofsted.

Ofsted last inspected Kent county council children’s services in 2017, giving an overall judgement of good, with the response to children who need help and protection graded as requiring improvement to be good.

A focused inspection which reviewed the local authority’s arrangements for managing contacts and referrals at the ‘front door’ and decision-making in relation to children who need help and protection found Kent has appropriately acted on feedback from the last inspection, with a firm focus on the front door arrangements.

"Since October 2018, there has been a single integrated route for accessing early help, intensive and higher level statutory social work services. Early signs are that the new arrangements have been implemented well," said the report.

Through corporate investment, Kent has increased senior and operational management capacity at the front door and have strengthened management oversight of the newly configured service.

Most decisions about helping and protecting children seen by inspectors were appropriate, managers swiftly triage all new referrals and the local authority strives to be forward-thinking in practice development, as shown by the very recent successful bid to develop a contextual safeguarding approach to adolescent vulnerability and a strategic focus on developing trauma-informed integrated adolescent services.

Inspectors highlighted:

- The front door is a high-volume but efficiently run service.

- Contacts and referrals receive prompt review by experienced and knowledgeable managers, and management oversight was present in all cases seen by inspectors.

- In the majority of cases seen by inspectors, decisions to transfer work to one of the two tiers of the local authority’s early help service were appropriate.

- When child protection concerns are referred to the front door, in the majority of cases the response is proportionate and prompt.

- Live and retrospective performance information about activity at the front door is helpful to managers.

- The response at the front door to children who are missing is well organised, despite the large volume of such notifications.

- Family group conferences (FGCs) for adolescents who go missing are examples of innovative practice.

- The quality assurance framework demonstrates a clear commitment by senior leaders and managers to using a range of methods, including case audits and peer review challenge as a means of improving practice.

In order to improve practice, Kent should focus on the existing audit methodology, to increase the focus on the impact of practice on improving outcomes for children. Kent should also improve initial front door decision-making, to ensure that triage decisions comprehensively consider and record the potential or likely risks to children and that next steps are recorded with a commensurate level of urgency.

Further recommendations include improving the multi-agency action planning for vulnerable and exploited adolescents to ensure that this is outcome-focused, time limited and rigorously followed up and to focus on the timeline of the initial response to children who are transferred to the early help service.

Focused visit to Kent county council children’s services

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