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.
"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.
Social workers in adult services carry out work with adults from a range of backgrounds, many of whom are extremely vulnerable, requiring a sensitive, and supportive approach. Adult social workers provide support and assistance to maintain and promote the independence and well-being of adults. Treating adults with dignity and respect is a key core social [...]
Left wing loony, interfering, judgemental, cardigan wearing child snatchers. This is how all too often social workers are depicted. Slammed in the press when they ‘remove’ children from families for placing a vulnerable child in care yet made out to be a scapegoat when a vulnerable child is let down by the system.
Unfortunately, the [...]
Social work had to face a complete pendulum swing in social work practice during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.
Prior to COVID, online assessments or meetings were a complete rarity which had to be adequately justified. Yet overnight, as COVID-19 forced England into lockdown in March 2020, social workers still had vulnerable children and families [...]