COVID-19 Guidance from WillisPalmer

Whilst the outbreak of Covid-19 is likely to cause some disruption to WillisPalmer services in the short-term, we are issuing guidance outlining our plans to minimise the impact of the virus.

Read more
Make an Enquiry

Shropshire makes progress for children needing to achieve permanance

Shropshire has made progress in improving services for children who need permanent arrangements for their care, Ofsted has found.
A focused visit, which looked at the local authority’s arrangements for achieving permanence, found that for almost all children who come into care, swift decisions are made about their permanent care plans.
The report found the local authority is successful in ensuring that most children who cannot live with their parents are placed quickly in alternative living arrangements, including placements with relatives, adoption, long-term fostering and, for a few, specialist residential living.
"Placement stability has improved, with fewer children experiencing multiple moves. Adoption is carefully considered for all children who cannot return home. Brothers and sisters are placed together whenever possible and adoption disruption is rare.
Special guardianship orders (SGO) are considered for children living in long-term fostering arrangements. Plans for children in care who are living with their parents under placement with parents (PWP) regulations are not sufficiently clear about what parents need to do to achieve good enough standards of parenting.," said the report.
Inspectors highlighted:
- Progress and improvements have been made since the last inspection.
- Children are placed in permanent placements quickly, with very few experiencing multiple moves before finding a good-quality permanent home.
- Almost all children are considered for adoption where this is appropriate, and the local authority is successful in placing groups of brothers and sisters, older children and those who have significant health needs.
- The local authority undertakes parallel planning for children’s futures.
- The local authority is successful in achieving permanence and legal stability by seeking special guardianship orders for children already living in established long-term foster care or with their connected carers.
- Children with disabilities who are in care have their permanence plans considered on a timely basis. At the age of 16, they are allocated a worker from adult services to reinforce long-term planning for their care arrangements after they become 19.
- Children’s assessments of need are updated regularly. Many of these are detailed and provide a clear analysis of children’s current needs and, where necessary, a review of the current care plan.
- Leaders and managers undertake regular monitoring activity through case and thematic audits, which has included a focus on permanence planning and practice.
However, plans for children in care who are placed with parents are too generic. The expectations of parents and what they need to do to improve or maintain good parenting are insufficiently clear or detailed.
While children looked after reviews are held within statutory timescales, many lack clear timescales for taking actions. Review minutes often refer to other documents as sources containing more details about issues and actions, the report found.
Social workers’ case supervision is inconsistent in quality. The best examples detail reflective discussion and include clear actions and timescales for completion. Some poorer examples, however, are very brief and contain little direction or reflection. In case management teams, there are gaps in supervision, in some cases for several months.
Senior managers have implemented a number of initiatives to improve the overall scrutiny of permanence planning and the effectiveness of practice. This includes a permanency tracker, but its use is limited as a tool for analysis, as there is insufficient data in place to allow this. On this basis, it is not yet useful as a strategic tool that enables the authority to identify any weaknesses in practice or in its processes.
In order to improve social work practice in this area, Shropshire needs to improve the functioning of the permanency tracker to ensure that it enables the local authority to analyse practice and progress towards permanence.
There needs to be a greater understanding among staff of the purpose of the permanency forum and a review of its scope to ensure that PWP arrangements are considered in the forum on a regular basis.
Finally Shropshire should ensure that recorded outcomes of reviews of children looked after arrangements have actions that are bounded by timescales for completion, and all expectations of parents are made clear in recommendations, the report concluded.
Focused visit to Shropshire local authority children’s services

Knowledge & Resources

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

£7m funding for charities supporting children affected by COVID-19 and lockdown measures

Vulnerable children and families affected by COVID-19 and the measures put in place to stop its spread will benefit from support offered by a coalition of charities under a new ‘See, Hear, Respond’ Department for Education programme.

The government has provided £7m of funding to launch the service which will be led by the charity Barnardo’s [...]

Read Full Story

Are you a foodie or a fitness fanatic? The groups emerging during lockdown

While it is inevitable that most of us have probably endured our fair share of wobbles during lockdown, given the fact we have never experienced anything like this before, people have naturally had to adapt their mindsets to navigate their way through social isolation.

I’ve noticed a number of ‘groups’ emerging.

The fitness fanatics

Walking, jogging, running – [...]

Read Full Story

Blog: Abuse during lockdown

WillisPalmer Chief Executive Mark Willis says all professionals working with children need to be ultra vigilant in looking for signs of abuse as we ease out of lockdown.

Children’s services professionals need to be vigilant for signs of emotional, physical and sexual abuse in young people as children return to primary school following lockdown, the chief [...]

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