We inspected in November 2016, looking at the quality of outcomes achieved for children in need of help, care and support, or protection.
We took account of the quality of practice, decision-making and multi-agency work in safeguarding, access and assessment arrangements.
Inspectors looked at what the local authority knew about its own performance and the difference it was making for the people it was seeking to help, care and support or protect.
We were testing out and learning from our new revised approach to local authority inspection.
As a priority
- Senior leaders in social services and the police should work proactively together to improve the quality, consistency and timeliness of child protection enquiries.
- A robust strategy should urgently be developed for recruiting and retaining social workers.
- Senior leaders should take steps to improve the frequency, consistency and quality of front-line staff supervision.
- The local authority should further develop a framework for preventive work with children and families, to delay the need for care and support.
- Team managers and senior practitioners should consistently provide oversight of decision making, challenge and direction for staff; a leadership and development programme should be made available to build resilience.
- The local authority should continue to support senior leaders to improve their knowledge and understanding of the complexities and risks involved in delivering children’s services.
- The local authority and partners should establish effective multi-agency quality assurance systems and joint training arrangements.
Over the next 12 months
- Strong political and corporate support for children’s services must continue to ensure improvements are prioritised and the pace of improvement accelerated and sustained.
- The quality of assessments and plans should be improved to ensure that they are consistently of a good quality, with a clear focus on the needs, risks and strengths of children and families, and clear desired outcomes, timescales and accountability for action.
- Caseloads and reports regarding the quality of workers’ performance should be continuously monitored to ensure there is sufficient capacity for workers to engage effectively with children and their families.