WillisPalmer is continuing to provide our expert social work and psychological services during lockdown. We are utilising technology alongside safe working practices in line with government guidance to enable us to continue supporting vulnerable children and families.

Call 01206 878178 to discuss your requirements.
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.

Practice guidelines to accompany legislative changes on siblings in care


CELCIS is seeking views to feed into practice guidelines which will accompany some legislative changes to uphold the rights and meet the needs of brothers and sisters with care experience.

Changes are being made to Section 13 of the Children (Scotland) 2020 Act, and the Looked After Children (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 and most of these [...]

Read Full Story

Working households no guarantee for lifting families out of poverty


Having an adult in the household in paid work is not sufficient to raise some families out of child poverty in Scotland, official statistics have shown.

While the risk of poverty is much lower for children where someone in the household is in paid work compared to those in workless households, not all work pays enough [...]

Read Full Story

£280 million boost for SEND provision


The government has announced £280 million funding for special educational needs and disabilities provision.

The funding will be allocated to local authorities to enable them to create new places in early years settings, schools, academies and colleges. The funding can be used to contribute to the cost of creating a whole new special school, or by [...]

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

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