Care leavers in the City of London benefit from a strong service that ensures that they are very well supported, an Ofsted report has found.
A focused visit to City of London local authority children’s services which focused on the authority's arrangements for care leavers found they receive effective help which enables most to achieve good outcomes.
"There is a determined and appropriately ambitious political and corporate focus to sustain and improve outcomes for care leavers," said the report. "The service knows itself well and is aware of the areas in which further improvement is required."
Skilled,determined social workers are persistent in engaging effectively with care leavers, the report said. All care leavers are in suitable safe accommodation and ‘staying put’ arrangements are actively promoted.
- Individual risks to care leavers, including those at risk of going missing and sexual exploitation, are clearly understood, and the necessary support is provided to reduce risks.
- Social workers are consistently tenacious in their efforts to stay in touch with young people who leave care.
- Visits to young people are mostly well recorded, with their wishes and feelings clearly evident.
- The accommodation needs of young people are being met effectively and all are in suitable accommodation.
- Effective tenancy support enables young people to sustain their tenancies when they are ready to move into independent accommodation.
- Care leavers receive good support to help them build their skills to live independently.
- Care leavers who are unaccompanied asylum seekers or refugees receive good support from their social workers, including help with understanding how to progress their application to stay in the United Kingdom.
- The emotional and physical health needs of care leavers are well considered and well met.
- The independent reviewing officer (IRO) is effective in improving planning for young people between 16 and 17 years.
- Audit arrangements for the provision of services to care leavers are good.
The report also highlights that senior leaders and managers are making efforts to ensure that care leavers’ views and experiences are being used to help to inform service improvements. Care leavers are involved in determining the local offer required by recent legislation.
However, there is some variability in the quality of management oversight and supervision, inspectors said. The report recommends that the supervision of social workers should consistently demonstrate reflective, analytical supervision and clear management oversight.
Ofsted also recommends that risk assessments should clearly articulate measures to address and minimise risk and there should be more explicit and consistent demonstration of young people’s involvement in preparing their pathway plans.
"Social workers reported that they enjoy working for the local authority and find their managers to be visible and supportive. Caseloads are manageable, and this enables direct work to take place with young people. Social workers benefit from access to a wide range of training opportunities applicable to the needs of care leavers," the report concluded.
Diane Wills is Consultant Social Worker at WillisPalmer, responsible for quality assuring the forensic risk assessment reports.
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