Support our #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Stability of workforce at Herefordshire improves

Senior leaders at Herefordshire Council have improved the overall stability of the social care workforce, from a very low base, Ofsted has said.

The focused visit looked at the local authority’s arrangements for receiving referrals about children who may be in need or at risk of significant harm, children transferring to and from early help services, the effectiveness of child protection enquiries and the quality of assessments and interventions for children in need of help and protection.

Senior managers have increased much needed management capacity and reduced overall social work caseloads across the service. This has been achieved very recently and over a relatively short period of time.

"Plans for improvement are appropriately focused on core areas that make the most difference to the lives of children. Senior leaders and managers have a realistic view of the quality of practice, which remains too variable and is not yet good," said the report.

Revised performance management and quality assurance approaches have been in place for only a few months and are starting to show some very early impact. The pace of progress has been hampered by staff turnover and difficulties recruiting to key management positions, such as lead officer for quality assurance.

Inspectors highlighted:

  • Since the last inspection, there has been an increased stability in the management and functioning of the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) and assessment service.
  • The effectiveness of responses in the MASH has been maintained and improved since the last inspection.
  • Decision-making following contacts to children’s social care, including those out of hours, is proportionate and results in the timely progression of referrals to statutory services.
  • As well as the immediate presenting issues, the wider needs of families are identified and addressed by social workers undertaking children’s assessments.
  • Leaders are implementing ambitious strategic plans for the recruitment and retention of social workers and this is starting to show some early impact in some parts of the service.
  • Senior leaders have taken steps to understand the experience of frontline practitioners in response to recommendations from the previous inspection.
  • Strategy discussions to consider children at risk of significant harm are consistently timely and well attended by key professionals.However, the quality of the initial planning for children following assessment or child protection enquiries is variable. For a small number of children, assessments do not always translate into the provision of effective help to divert them from statutory services.The level of management oversight of casework is improving but does not yet robustly challenge less effective practice in some cases.Ofsted recommends that in order to improve social work practice, Herefordshire should focus on application, by partners, of thresholds for making referrals for statutory social work intervention and improving the quality of assessments, including the time taken to complete assessments and the level of frequency of visits to children.

    Management oversight and social work supervision and understanding the experiences of children and families subject to repeat child in need assessments needs attention.

    Focused visit to Herefordshire local authority children’s services

Working Together For Children

Make an enquiry

A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work, psychological, psychiatric, therapeutic and family support services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
Make an Enquiry

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 [...]

Read Full Story

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 [...]

Read Full Story

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 [...]

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
WP Quality Assured

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

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