“Unacceptable” screening visits are being carried out at Oldham children’s services, Ofsted has found.
The focused inspection of the authority which concentrated on the local authority’s arrangements for the front door identified that social workers are undertaking ‘screening visits’ to some children and their families prior to a referral decision, although the rationale for these visits is unclear.
“The local authority explained that these visits are an assessment. However, they are undertaken outside of the single assessment process and this means that families are being assessed without their knowledge or right to read, comment and have their views recorded, and this is unacceptable,” said the report.
In some cases, these visits led to a delay in children having their needs formally assessed and also meant that children and their families had to explain their circumstances to more than one worker in quick succession. Following discussions during this visit, the local authority intends to review the use of screening visits, said Ofsted.
It added that while assessments are timely, further work is required to ensure that the quality of assessments is consistently good.
Ofsted inspectors identified:
However, while some assessments are of good quality, the majority do not include effective consideration of children’s histories to inform analysis of risk, or sufficient analysis of the capacity of parents to do things differently in the future. A small number of children are re-referred to children’s social care for the same or similar issues when weaker assessments did not fully evaluate the risks to, and needs of, children or when cases were closed prematurely.
The response to vulnerable children, including those experiencing domestic abuse or self-harm, and those children who are at risk of sexual exploitation, is variable.
Ofsted recommends that Oldham improves the quality, consistency and child-centeredness of assessments and the efficacy and ethics of first contacts with families.
Oldham also needs to give consideration and understanding of coercive control in cases of domestic abuse and should improve the quality of social work responses to vulnerable adolescents, including those at risk of child sexual exploitation and self-harm.
A look back at 2022 with WillisPalmer's Head of Practice, Lucy Hopkins…
2022 saw people trying to get back to some degree of normality following the Covid-19 lockdowns, restrictions and school closures that we had faced for the previous two years. However, the impact of Covid-19 continued and many services experienced, and continue to experience, backlogs and difficulties, including those services relating to children and families.Social worker [...]
John Lewis Christmas advert highlights important messages regarding foster care and looked after children
Every year people are excited to see what the theme of the John Lewis & Partners Christmas advert will be. This year's advert reminded our Head of Practice, Lucy Hopkins, of all the times she arrived at the homes of foster carers with children or young people who were anxious, scared, worried and hungry, having just [...]
The WillisPalmer Christmas Tree Decorating Competition 2022
We have two Christmas trees at the WillisPalmer office and this year the staff upstairs are going to compete with the staff downstairs to see who has the best decorated tree... and we want YOU to decide on the winner!
Tree 1 - Downstairs
A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman