There has been a lack of urgency to develop partnership working in the borough of Sandwell since Sandwell Children’s Trust was established, Ofsted has warned.
Inspectors noted that since the re-inspection in 2018, a great deal of work has been completed to establish the Trust and an ambitious improvement plan has been developed which sets out eight priority areas and with all eight priorities being led by the chief executive and Trust directors.
However, Ofsted noted: “Although work has started on most of the priorities, it is significant that since the re-inspection there has been a lack of urgency to develop partnership working in the borough. This partnership working is crucial to ensure that children and families receive services to improve their outcomes.”
The report highlights that some “long-standing barriers to improvement remain,” most notably the instability of the workforce with almost a third being agency or interim staff. This means that some children are having too many changes of social worker, which inhibits the development of trusting and meaningful relationships. Caseloads are too high for some workers, which means that they have insufficient time to devote to in-depth work with children.
The Trust recognises that action is required to combat this and is developing a renewed offer to social workers to attract and retain staff, the report noted.
The report highlighted:
“Some social workers make good use of research in their assessments and in most cases, they reach clear recommendations. Managers signing off assessments present a clear synopsis of the case, along with rationale for their recommendations. This demonstrates that managers have a clear understanding of the work completed by social workers and that the right actions and services are put in place to improve children’s outcomes,” the report concluded.