Children’s services step up a gear Ofsted report shows
Gloucestershire County Council’s latest Ofsted monitoring report shows that children’s social care has turned a corner and is improving at a much quicker pace.
On 2 – 3 October 2018, Ofsted carried out their fourth monitoring visit to children’s services since the inspection in March 2017.The report sent to the county council read: “The local authority has accelerated progress in improving services for its children and young people, albeit from a delayed start”.
The service now knows itself well – the areas that they have improved on and what they still need to work on - with the permanent leadership team starting to establish a clear vision and improvement plans for the service.
The progress has been supported by a significant financial boost in children’s services and additional resources which include all the tools of the trade that social workers need to do their job well.
Staff reinforced this by telling inspectors that they feel more supported by their managers which has boosted morale and contributed to a better working environment.
During their visit, inspectors visited the MASH (multi-agency safeguarding hub) which has recently come together into one location to make sure partner organisations including: children’s services, the police and health are talking to each other in a timely way.
Inspectors spoke positively about how this has started to reduce delays in decision making so that children get the right help at the right time.
Ofsted also noted that quality of performance information, audits and assessments is also improving as is the quality and consistency of social work practice.
Better practice, more supervision for staff, and reduced caseloads for social workers has also contributed to an accelerated progress - and against the backdrop of a vast increase in demand over the last 12 months.
Cllr Richard Boyles, cabinet member for children and young people at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “This is great news for us but more importantly for children in Gloucestershire who need our help.
“The team has worked incredibly hard to increase the speed in which we are changing the way we work to make a positive difference to vulnerable children in Gloucestershire. This report shows that we have certainly turned a corner,
“We are not complacent though; we know that there is more work to be done to make sure the improvements are consistent across children’s services. To go from inadequate to good usually takes 18 months to three years, so we’re realistic about what still needs to be done.
“We are all committed to making sure children and young people are as safe as possible. We will be focussing on recruiting more social workers, improving the consistency of social work practice across the service and improving outcomes for children and young people.”
The full report is available on Ofsted’s website https://files.api.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50034361