There has been significant work to further develop the MASH at Waltham Forest children’s services, Ofsted has stated.
There has been the co-location of more partner agencies and a recent relaunch of the revised threshold guidance which has, in turn, resulted in improved, timely multi-agency responses to contacts and referrals.
“Regular surveys of partner agencies show improved understanding and better relationships with children’s social care, and this is enabling better support and protection of children,” said the report.
The report found:
- The vast majority of information-sharing by partners is prompt and of good quality, and is supported by the co-location of partners in the MASH.
- Decision-making on contacts, including out-of-hours contacts, is appropriate and results in timely progression to referrals for early help and statutory services.
- Child protection concerns are quickly identified and progress to timely strategy discussions.
- The majority of assessments are completed in a timely way, with clear direction and focus provided by the team manager.
- When children’s cases are stepped down to early help following assessment, there are clear packages of support in place from appropriate services to support sustained progress for children.
- Robust arrangements are in place to identify and respond to missing children.
- Social work teams are benefiting from an increasing number of permanent staff.
- Social workers who spoke to inspectors report regular, reflective supervision and easy access to managers, including senior managers, who support them in their roles.
- Staff have access to a wide range of induction and training opportunities.
Ofsted says that management oversight and rationale are consistently evident in case records. However, it identifies improvement in the actions required to be taken are not always specific and measurable, meaning that the progress of children’s plans is harder to monitor.
It adds that the implementation of the newly commissioned local authority case recording system has resulted in some performance management reports not being sufficiently accurate. This restricts the ability of leaders and managers to have a systematic understanding of interventions and to monitor the quality and timeliness of social work practice.
Inspectors conclude that the quality assurance framework audits focus on process compliance. In order to drive continued improvements, further development is required to evaluate the quality of practice and to consider how this impacts on outcomes for children.