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