Ofsted monitoring visit
On 18 and 19 February 2020, Ofsted carried out their eighth monitoring visit to Children’s Services since the inspection in March 2017. The feedback from the visit has been published in a letter this morning. You can find the letter here https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50148774
During their latest visit, we asked inspectors to focus on the areas they know still need strengthening including: timeliness of visits, effectiveness of assessment, planning and interventions, the quality of management oversight and staff supervision, and the quality of performance management information.
- Ofsted said improvements in some parts of the service where leaders have focused attention, are showing early signs of success. This is particularly evident in the safeguarding teams, where social workers visit children more regularly and demonstrate persistence and professional curiosity.
- It revealed that planning for children is improving and plans are of better quality.
- Inspectors found that the timeliness of social work visits to see children has improved, but reported that the quality of support is inconsistent which means that not all children get the help and support they need as quickly as they always should.
- Managers are not always as effective as they could be when responding to poor social work practice, or acting to prevent children’s situations worsening, and the quality of plans and assessments can vary across teams.
- The leadership team has a clear oversight of the quality of services and the impact they have on children, but where weaknesses are identified, they need to make sure they respond more quickly and consistently.
- Ofsted reported that staff vacancy numbers and rates have significantly reduced over 12 months and senior managers have created a more stable workforce meaning children experience fewer changes of social worker.
- Morale amongst staff is improving and they feel well supported and value the opportunities they have for development.
- It said the county’s assessed and supported year in education programme (ASYE) provides well trained and motivated professionals who are carefully supported.
It’s encouraging that Ofsted recognise the improvements we have made and can see the impact they are making across the service.
The success we have had stabilising our workforce and the quality of our training and development will play a big part in retaining our staff and will help us to maintain and embed improvements to deliver increased consistency.
We are committed to keeping our children and young people safe and I am confident that we are well placed to build on this success.
Director of Children’s Services