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Ofsted inspections during October

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Here is a summary of the Ofsted inspection reports published in the last month, focusing on improving services for children and young people.

Good progress highlighted at Darlington

Good progress has been made in improving services for looked-after children in Darlington, a monitoring visit has revealed.

Ofsted inspectors found a more stable workforce, compliance with statutory requirements has been achieved and the IRO service had been strengthened.

Article

Full report

Managers at Slough need to identify practice weaknesses sooner

Some children’s needs are not being met in Slough because managers do not always identify practice weaknesses quickly enough, Ofsted has warned.

Key actions within children’s plans are not always carried out in good time and, for some children, this leads to unnecessary delay in their needs being met, or in plans for children’s permanence not being achieved quickly enough.

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Report

Social work practice at Birmingham has improved

The quality of social work practice at Birmingham children’s services has improved since the last inspection, Ofsted has said.

The authority has demonstrated that it has made improvements in the quality of social work practice since the last inspection, however, 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.

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Report

Practice remains too variable in permanence arrangements at Wandsworth

Practice remains too variable in permanence arrangements for children at Wandsworth Council, according to a monitoring visit by inspectors.

While some strengths were noted, a lack of timeliness in providing permanent alternative homes were found.

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Report

Pace of change at Tameside too slow

The pace of change and improvement remains too slow at Tameside, Ofsted has warned.

Inspectors saw that priorities had been translated into a 12-week plan, however, this has not led to strong coordination of service improvement or consistent frontline practice.

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Report

Weaknesses remain in children who go missing from care in Worcestershire

Significant weaknesses remain in the quality of services to children who go missing in Worcestershire children’s services, Ofsted has found.

There are weaknesses in the electronic systems to support managers in the Family Front Door Service which was being focused on within the monitoring assessment by Ofsted and in the consistent focus within assessments and plans on the lived experience of children.

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Report

Progress made in care leavers’ service at Wirral

There is a real sense of energy and enthusiasm in managers and personal advisers at Wirral who are keen and committed to improve services to care leavers, a monitoring visit from Ofsted has found.

Ofsted inspectors focused on the progress made in improving support to care leavers and found the new care leavers’ service, which has been established since the time of the inspection, has reinvigorated this area of work.

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Report

Assessments variable at Sandwell

Assessments and care plans for looked-after children in Sandwell are of variable and often poor quality, a monitoring visit of the authority found.

Plans are not specific enough, and do not focus on all risks, or the complexity, of a child’s needs and behaviour. In particular, for too many children, permanence planning is not yet sufficiently timely or robust, Ofsted stated.

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Report

Knowledge & Resources

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

Blame culture results in risk aversion in social work

19/10/2021

A blame culture in social work impacts on risk aversion in the social work profession, some respondents to The Case for Change have warned.

Publishing the Case for Change in June, chair of the independent review of children’s social care Josh MacAlister said: “This Case for Change sets out the urgent need for a new approach [...]

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Schools dealing with social work issues during COVID pandemic

15/10/2021

Schools were forced to step in to support vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic for many issues that were previously dealt with by social workers, research has found.

Schools found themselves helping vulnerable families with problems such as mental health problems, domestic abuse and poverty during the pandemic as more families were turning to schools [...]

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Young people at Oakhill STC held in rooms for 23 hours a day

13/10/2021

Children and young people at Oakhill Secure Training Centre are being held in their rooms for 23 hours a day, a joint inspection has found.

Children have spent approximately 19 hours per day on average locked in their rooms on average since mid-July 2021, the centre’s records show and on some days, this has increased [...]

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