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

Too many children experience delays in Gloucestershire

Too many children referred to Gloucestershire children’s services experience delays in being seen by social workers, Ofsted has said.

Although the local authority has made improvements in the timeliness of responses to children in need of help or protection, the quality and consistency of practice is not yet good enough, the monitoring visit of Gloucestersire children's services found.

"Young people often experience delay in the identification of, and response to, unchanging or escalating risk, and in the progression of planning within timescales that provide them with the best opportunity to thrive," said the report.

While the local authority has been successful in establishing a permanent senior leadership team and a stable frontline team manager group, it continues to struggle to recruit and retain sufficient suitably qualified and experienced social work staff.

Due to the high turnover in staff, too many children and young people experience frequent changes of social worker, and this impacts negatively on the progression of plans. However, the vast majority of social workers have manageable caseloads and social workers spoken to during this inspection are positive about working for the local authority, feel supported by line managers and value the visibility and accessibility of senior managers.

Inspectors noted:

- In response to these challenges, the local authority has increased its social work establishment in the last six months and implemented its workforce strategy to recruit and retain staff.

- Despite staffing challenges, the local authority has evidenced improvement in a number of key quantitative performance measures. The number of children experiencing delays in being allocated to a social worker are low.

- The vast majority of assessments are now completed within national maximum timescales.

- The local authority has increased the number of child protection conference chairs and has introduced a comprehensive improvement programme for this group of staff.

- Staff morale within teams is good and social workers are positive about the support they receive from managers and the training that they have received.

- The range of performance management information and reports used by the senior leadership team to understand and monitor social work practice and performance are comprehensive and provide a clear and accurate picture of performance across the service.

However, the report also revealed that social work practice for young people in need of help and protection is too variable in quality and consistency. While some social workers are able to talk in detail about the circumstances of the young people with whom they work, this has not consistently translated in to effective or proactive planning.

Although the quality of assessments is improving, they are not always completed within timescales that reflect young people’s circumstances and do not yet contribute to effective planning for young people.

Action plans continue to be too variable in their quality and do not consistently inform effective care planning and decision-making.

"The local authority has continued to make incremental improvements. However, the foundations from which to deliver good-quality social work practice are not yet consistently in place and the pace of improvement continues to be too slow," the report concluded.

Monitoring visit of Gloucestershire children’s services

Knowledge & Resources

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

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 in mental health hospitals at risk of serious rights violations


Children’s mental health has worsened over the past three years with many young people’s wellbeing deteriorating during COVID-19, a report has said.

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of children experiencing a significant mental health problem including depression, anxiety and eating disorders with the pandemic exacerbating problems. More than 3,500 children go to [...]

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