The pace of change and improvement remains too slow at Tameside, Ofsted has warned.
In the third monitoring visit since the local authority was judged inadequate in December 2016, inspectors saw that priorities had been translated into a 12-week plan.
“This has not led to strong coordination of service improvement or consistent frontline practice. As a result, despite the hard work of staff and managers, the pace of change and improvement remains too slow,” said the monitoring report.
However, the service offered to children and families at the Public Service Hub continues to be better than at the time of the inspection. An extra manager has ensured that oversight remains effective, even though there is more work coming into the Hub. Contact records seen at this visit show good consideration of history, appropriate information-gathering and sound analysis to inform decision-making for children.
Work with children who go missing has improved since the inspection. Staff at the Public Service Hub now manage notifications about all missing children. They have effective working relationships with partner agencies, which ensure better information-sharing.
The information that is recorded from returning home interviews is helping the police find children more quickly if they go missing again.
However inspectors highlighted that the service provided to care leavers, which was judged to require improvement at the time of the inspection, has not made enough progress.
- There continues to be delay in completing and reviewing pathway plans.
- There is also confusion about who should complete the plans and at what time.
- Many plans are not informed by an updated assessment.
- Plans do not always address the changing needs of young people or the impact of significant life events.
The size of the leaving-care team has increased and caseloads are lower, the report adds. Inspectors saw evidence of staff spending more time with young people and giving them good-quality support.
No young people have been placed in bed and breakfast accommodation for six months. However, the local authority does not have access to a good range of accommodation for care leavers, which means that provision is unlikely to meet future demands.
“Since the last monitoring visit, there has been a reduction in staff turnover. This is providing greater staff stability and capacity to make further improvements to services. However, despite staff and managers understanding what needs to improve, the absence of a clear plan that supports improvement in practice continues to impede progress,” the report concludes.