Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Ofsted: Birmingham is ‘maintaining progress’

Birmingham children’s services is “maintaining progress” in services for looked after children, Ofsted has found.

In the fourth monitoring visit since the local authority was judged inadequate in November 2016, inspectors said the local authority is maintaining progress seen at the last full inspection. Additional progress and improvement was seen in specific areas such as foster to adopt and the effectiveness of challenge and escalation made by Independent Reviewing Officers.

“Children are brought into the care of the local authority appropriately, and where required the authority is taking prompt action through the courts to secure the care of children,” said the report.

Where there are concerns about the ability of parents to care for children prior to the birth of a child, assessments are thorough and timely, the report adds. Work is focused on meeting court timescales, and where these are not being met there are clear and appropriate reasons for this.

Completion of assessments during the court process, including specialist assessments, is timely.

However, the quality of care plans remains too inconsistent. While the best are detailed, with clear actions and timescales that focus on good outcomes for children, parents and carers. Weaker plans lack a clear focus on progress in key areas and timescales for actions to be achieved.

Inspectors highlighted that almost all plans demonstrated an early consideration of permanency options which enabled progress to be made towards achieving a permanent care arrangement for children without delay.

The local authority continues to deal with a legacy of bringing some children into care early in life, who have remained in care, sometimes for many years, albeit in stable placements with relatives or long-term carers. Some of these children could benefit from being made subject to residence or special guardianship orders, which would confirm the permanence of their living arrangements and reduce unnecessary social work intervention.

Reviews of plans are timely and in many, but not all, cases IROs have visited children between reviews to establish and maintain relationships with them.

Almost all reviews are focused on the needs of the child although, in a number of cases where brothers and sisters are placed together, their reviews cover all of the children and, as a result, their individual different needs are not given sufficient focus and can be overlooked. As a consequence, in a small minority of cases, there was some drift in securing the right plan for each child. Children who do not live with their siblings are supported to have regular contact with them.

Ofsted inspectors also noted that partnership working is not as robust as it could be. There is evidence of good partnership work with some services, for example, the therapeutic emotional support service, support provided internally by schools and ‘Forward Thinking’ the NHS provider of mental health services for children and young people that provides counselling for individual children.

Supervision of staff is regular, and recording is often detailed, with clear action points. The local authority’s own casework evaluation framework is effective at identifying how well social workers comply with policy and process.

“The local authority has demonstrated that it has maintained and made some further improvements to the quality of social work practice since the last inspection. Further work remains to be done to ensure that practice is consistently good and that the best outcomes for all children are achieved on a timely and consistent basis,” the report concluded.

Birmingham monitoring visit

Knowledge & Resources

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

Fears raised over impartiality of Ofsted safeguarding review in schools

13/05/2021

Concerns have been raised about the impartiality of Ofsted’s review into safeguarding in schools and colleges.

The government asked Ofsted to review safeguarding policies in schools and colleges after thousands of children and young people posted anonymously on the Everyone’s Invited website about sexual abuse in schools – including some posts from children as young [...]

Read Full Story

How social workers became the 5th emergency service during lockdown

12/05/2021

Interview with our experienced and highly respected Independent Social Worker Mary Cullen on social workers going above and beyond for vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic

ISW Mary Cullen

Social workers have shown immense resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and had little choice but to place any health anxieties to one side, don their protective [...]

Read Full Story

Referrals to children’s services down by 11% but case complexity rises

11/05/2021

The number of referrals to children’s services at March 2021 was 11% lower than in previous years, according to official statistics from the Department for Education.

The ‘Vulnerable Children and Young People Survey Summary of returns Waves 1 to 22’ report published by the Department for Education reveals that in Wave 22 - between 8 and [...]

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

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram