Improvement Update

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Improvement Update - October 2019

Preparing for our next monitoring visit

We are making preparations for the next Ofsted monitoring visit on the 16 and 17 October 2019. Since the last Ofsted visit in July a clear work plan has been implemented focusing on three priorities: 

  • Quality and timely supervision for all social workers to improve the quality of assessments, plans and their implementation
  • Improving all aspects of multi-agency child protection work with better audited quality assurance
  • Working with our partners to make sure we apply the right level of intervention whilst making sure children in need of help and protection are prioritised.

Inspired voices (Build a Girl) project

Young people have formed a focus group to recommend different ways in which the voice of the child can have more impact across social care and the wider Council.

The group will be working to reach different age ranges to make sure younger children, who have historically been less engaged, have the opportunity to have their voices heard. 

Older focus group members are developing a presentation and video clips on ‘what every worker should know - listen to me’. We are looking at how these can be incorporated into the induction process for all new social workers.

The videos clips are created by young people and offer reminders, hints and tips, from children themselves directly to staff about the need to listen and respond to what they say.

Video clips will also include animations and cartoons created by younger members of the focus group that express their feelings and experiences of social care.

Key points young people have asked of us are:

  • To tell them specifically who we will share their story or details with, and why.
  • To allocate a worker to them that will stick with them and not be changed, as every time this happens we have to build a new relationship all over.
  • That we stop and think before we respond to what they are saying, because what they are say is really important to them and sometimes our reaction can make light of it.

  • That we don’t break our promises – and that we are honest about what we can and cannot do.

‘Back to basics’ training

This training has taken place for team managers and is helping us to evidence that casework is of better quality and complies with national standards.

Staff supervision is now reported on a monthly basis with audits taking place to make sure supervision is being carried out effectively.

Trackers are now in place for all cases in public law outline in court and for cases where children have been subject to protection plans for more than 12 months. Service managers are able to monitoring and update the trackers.

Significant work has been completed on the development of a new performance dashboard tool, which is used by managers. This focuses on specific key performance indicators by locality, team and practitioner.  This will help with the early identification of risks and allow us to identify if there are particular areas requiring focus or challenge.

Strengthening our audit procedures

We have been strengthening our audit procedures in a number of ways:

  • We’ve reviewed all of our children who have been subject to child protection plans for over 12 months. A key part of this is working with managers to make sure there is no drift or delay in cases.
  • A new audit tool has been introduced which will allow us to monitor the social care outcomes on a monthly basis.
  • Audits are being undertaken with social workers that will help them to understand and discuss cases and have an opportunity to reflect and learn through the process.
  • Audit outcomes will feed into our training plan to make sure that learning is shared across the whole service.

Improving intervention with our partners

A revised Continuum of Need guidance document has been launched and a series of partner training events on the new guidance took place during the summer.

Strategy meetings now sit within the assessment teams. This reduces the ‘hand off’ points and means partners are more effectively engaged throughout the assessment process.

We are seeing evidence that the quality of assessments and timeliness of social care practice is improving. However, we know there is more to do to make sure the standard of assessments is consistently high. 

We are likely to continue to see peaks and troughs in performance as we embed processes that improve compliance and quality assurance and whilst we stabilise our staffing arrangements. 

Developing our staff

Around 140 people attended a recruitment event which took place on 10 September. The evening provided prospective social workers with information on what working in social care in Bradford is like and what opportunities are available. Thanks to all the teams who helped with the event and helped showcase Bradford.

In addition to recruitment initiatives, our HR plan ‘What Good Looks Like’ also looks at ways to improve staff retention and workforce performance so that we can manage the future capacity and capability in our workforce.

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