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

Strong corporate leadership at Barking and Dagenham

There is strong corporate leadership at Barking and Dagenham children’s services which enables the authority to improve services to meet the diverse needs of children and their families.

A focussed report by Ofsted found that this scrutiny enables better quality social work practice to embed. In fact, the self-evaluation carried out by senior leaders shows that they know the service well.

“Inspectors found evidence of sound social work practice in the MASH and assessment service, both of which have benefited from innovative actions to secure a more stable workforce. In the cases audited and in all other work considered, the local authority had acted appropriately to safeguard children and keep them safe,” said the report.

Inspectors found:

  • Since the last Ofsted inspection in May 2014, senior leaders and partners have retained a strong focus to improve social work practice. Previous areas of concern within the MASH and assessment service have been tackled effectively.
  • The recent changes to early help services, and the very recent investment and implementation of a new electronic case record system, demonstrate promise and improvement.
  • Within the cases audited by the local authority, inspectors did not find any children at risk of harm, and appropriate decisions had been taken to safeguard children.
  • The MASH model has been strengthened since the previous inspection.
  • Children and families are appropriately referred to early help and intervention services.
  • There are strong transitional arrangements in place between the emergency duty team and the day service.
  • Strategy discussions are timely and almost all cases considered by inspectors were well attended by relevant professionals.
  • Where decisions are made to carry out section 47 enquiries, children and families are visited quickly and their views sought to ensure appropriate decision-making is in place to progress the case to initial child protection conferences.
  • Management oversight and supervision of case work in the MASH are clear and embedded, although more variable in the assessment service due to previous management vacancies.

"Staff report that they enjoy working in Barking and Dagenham children’s services as there is a supportive culture, open access to management advice and appropriate training available to them,” said the report.

Inspectors noted multi-agency referrals they considered are not always clear about the nature of concerns and safeguarding risks to children due to limited referral information. Consent is not always being routinely gained by referrers. When consent is gained in the MASH, it is not always clearly recorded in case records. Managers are confident that the new electronic management system will provide opportunities to improve practice in this area.

In order to improve social work practice, the quality of referrals from partner agencies is not always comprehensive enough to identify the level of professional concern. This has a detrimental effect on some children as there is a delay in the delivery of services to them.

The use of qualitative information and auditing to inform practice developments does not yet drive and monitor further practice improvements. Management oversight and supervision of case work in the assessment service are not consistently recorded in case records, which inhibits the understanding of what is working well to improve outcomes for children and measure whether such progress is sufficiently timely.

Inspectors conclude that the thresholds between statutory services and early help services should be monitored during the bedding in of the new early help structures.

Focused Report Barking and Dagenham

Knowledge & Resources

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

Reliance on agency staff in Star Hobson authority highlights capacity issues in social work


The “reliance on agency social workers” in the local authority responsible for safeguarding Star Hobson highlights capacity issues in the social work profession, the Chair of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has warned.

Star Hobson

Addressing the education select committee, Annie Hudson – who last month published Child Protection in England into the [...]

Read Full Story

Unaccompanied children included in Homes for Ukraine scheme


Applications for unaccompanied children from Ukraine are starting to be processed under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the government has announced.

The Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow children and minors under the age of 18 who have already applied through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme to come to the UK without a parent or [...]

Read Full Story

Ofsted consults on introducing a judgement in inspections on progress for care leavers


Ofsted has launched a consultation on proposals to include a new judgement on the experiences and progress of care leavers in the local authority children’s services (ILACS) inspection framework.

The inspectorate proposes to:

•             Introduce a separate new judgement within ILACS: “The experience and progress of care leavers.”

•             Review and update the existing evaluation criteria to [...]

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
WP Quality Assured

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

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