Children's Services monthly bulletin

Children's Services
John Gregg


It's a week since Ofsted came for their monitoring visit and it's been a time to reflect.


We're still waiting for their letter but although they identified areas we still need to work on like the quality of our practice and a focus on outcomes, we still have a lot to be proud about.

We now need a relentless focus on improving the quality of our casework. 

We had already identified those areas as something we needed to work on and they form a clear part of our vision and transformation programme. 

The recent care leavers celebration made me proud to work in Coventry. It was inspiring to hear from our young people about what they had been through but more importantly what they had achieved.

I have arranged some more open door sessions for you to come and see me. They are:

  • Tues 22 Nov, 3.30pm - 5pm, Rm 240, CC1
  • Thurs 1 Dec, 12noon - 2pm, Committee Room 2
  • Tues 13 Dec, 3pm - 5pm, Rm 240, CC1

I'm also arranging some more regular briefing sessions starting in the new year to help us keep in touch and up to date with what's happening across the service. I look forward to seeing you there.

John Gregg, Director of Children's Services

News and updates

Care Leavers

Celebrating our care leavers

Coventry’s care leavers were celebrated in a ceremony honouring their achievements and successes last month.

The care leavers celebration event was jointly organised by the Route 21 Team and the Participation Team. 

Find out more about the event..

Council to consult on changes to children’s homes

Coventry City Council is planning to consult on changes to how it provides residential care for children and young people in the city.

The Council currently provides care for up to 12 children at two Council run children’s homes at The Grange and Gravel Hill.

Under the new proposal, the Council would look to replace the existing provision at The Grange and Gravel Hill with four homes, providing up to four places in each home.

The new proposal will help save money, provide more places and give young people cared for by the Council a placement more like everyday family living. 

Read more

West Midlands Paediatric Sexual Assault Service

New Paediatric Sexual Assault Service 

There is a new Paediatric Sexual Assault Service for the West Midlands. If you need to refer someone you can call 0800 953 4131 or send a secure email

You can find out more at

Christmas at St Marys Guildhall

Christmas gift appeal for Looked After Children

The annual Christmas party for Looked After Children is currently being organised, and the team is looking for your help.

The party is for children aged 12 and under. Father Christmas attends the party and provides presents for all the children. However, he still needs some more presents and he suggests we ask you kind people of Coventry City Council for donations.

Find out how you can donate

Ask the child

The voice of the child in court

Legal Services, in partnership with the Permanency Team and the court service, have produced a video aimed at young people who are the subject of care proceedings. 

The video features three young people, who were themselves the subject of care proceedings, asking two senior judges questions about the process and their role. 

Social workers may find this a really useful tool to understand the questions young people have, or to show to the children and young people they are working with.

If you are interested in borrowing a copy of “Ask the Judge” please email Julie Newman


    Help tackle modern slavery

    Modern slavery is a serious crime in which people are exploited for little or no pay. Exploitation includes sexual exploitation, forced or bonded labour, forced criminality, domestic servitude and the removal of organs.

    We have a role to help spot and report it. You can find resources to help you on the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner's website and they have produced a short video to help you recognise the signs.

    benefit cap

    Are your families affected by the benefit cap?

    Agencies in Coventry are explaining about changes to the benefit cap which will affect around 800 families in the city.

    From January 2017 families (both couples and single parents) who receive benefits totalling more than £384.62 per week will have money taken from their housing benefit – limiting the amount they can receive.

    Find out more about who is affected on the Council's website 

    Dianne wins Research in Practice award

    Congratulations to Dianne Stevenson, Practice Development Team, who recently won an award for her work to embed Research in Practice in Coventry.

    Dianne is our Research in Practice Link Officer and the award recognises officers who have made an outstanding effort to support learning and development and to embed evidence-informed practice within their organisation. 

    Diane said: "I was both delighted and surprised to find that I had won the silver Learning Champion award for embedding RIP resources into our Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme."

    New guidance for social care teams on mobile phones

    New guidance has been developed about sharing mobile phone numbers with service users and partners. You can read the guidance on Beacon. 

    Raising responsible teenagers

    Positive Parenting, Youth Offending Service and the Police have organised a free session for parents and carers of teenagers which will give lots of information and ideas to manage behaviour and support children's development.

    Thursday 1 December
    5.15pm to 7.15pm
    Central Library, Smithford Way, CV1 1FY

    Contact Positive Parenting on 024 7678 6949 to book a place or for more information.

    Foster for Coventry

    A fun day out

    More than 170 children and adults enjoyed a range of fun activities at the recent Adoption Fun day.

    Adopted children and their families from across Coventry and Warwickshire got together for the event which is now in its eleventh year.

    Activities included biscuit making, henna art, planting bulbs, arts and crafts, face painting and drumming workshops. For the adults it was a chance to catch-up with other adopters, friends and Adoption Team workers.

    Your learning

    Putting practice first

    Putting Practice First 

    Coventry City Council is organising a conference for practioners across the country that will look at how we can improve outcomes for children, young people and their families

    Key speakers at the event in January include:

    Isabelle Trowler—Chief Social Worker for Children and Families

    Dez Holmes—Director Research in Practice

    Professor Sue White—University of Sheffield

    Find out more about the conference and how to book on Beacon.

    don't gamble

    New data protection course you must complete

    Don’t gamble that you know what you’re doing to keep people’s data safe and secure. Complete the new short e-learning course and make sure you’re up to speed with what you need to do.

    Find out how to access the course online

    Taking the mystery out of court

    New dates are now available for the 'day in court skills training course'. The dates are:

    • 19 December 2016
    • 6 February 2017
    • 6 March 2017

    There will also be a one day course on drafting and court processes on the 7 March 2017. This is not linked to the other course, and can be attended on its own. 

    You can book places on Resourcelink, once you have your manager's approval. If you are having trouble accessing the system, please email

    Latest training opportunities

    29 November - DVRIM Domestic Violence - 9.30am - 12.30pm, Lamb Street, Sapphire Room

    5 December - Putting analysis into assessment - 9.30am -4.30pm, St Mary's Guildhall, Drapers Room

    9 December - CSE Loudmouth - 9.30am to 11.30am, Council House, New Committee Room 3

    8/9 December - Reflective and analytical supervision - 9.30am - 4.30pm, Dame Ellen Terry Suite

    You can book a place on Resourcelink. If you have any difficulty booking a place please contact the training team at:

    In case you missed it...

    Next steps

    Children’s Services have undertaken significant steps to improve over the last two years. The service is working at pace to embed and sustain the changes already made. The focus continues to be: 

    • implementing the workforce strategy to stabilise the workforce and reduce the reliance on agency workers 
    • improving the quality and consistency of practice by continuing to progress through auditing and quality assurance, ensuring that learning is being fed back in to practice. 
    • ensuring that there is a greater availability of placement choice for all children by implementing the placement sufficiency strategy
    • recruiting more foster carers and specialist carers to increase capacity to avoid residential placements for more complex children and young people
    • ensuring that the best use is made of the available resource/budget to maximise the impact on children’s lives.

    Get in touch

    Email with your updates, comments or suggestions.

    October 2016 


    Our performance - October 2016

    Average caseloads:
    - RAS - 15
    - Neighbourhoods - between 18-20
    - IRO  (CP) -  74
    - IRO (LAC) - 73
    -CDT – 20
    -LAC – 16
    -R21 - 18

    Children and Family First assessment timeliness 


    Child Protection Plans



    27.8% of all CAFs were held by either Health or schools against a target of 40%


    Number of Looked After Children



    At the end of October,

    34 children have been adopted, 41 children are placed for adoption, and 15 applications have been lodged with the court (since April 2016).

    Children's Services training

    *New updates*

    Children's Services Learning and Development Portfolio

    The Children’s Services Training Portfolio is available on Beacon so that the service can view the training offer and how to book onto the sessions available.
    Access the portfolio

    Children’s Portfolio 2016 – 17

    Foster Care Portfolio

    Useful links
    British Association of Social Workers
    Research in Practice
    Community Care
    Family Law Week
    Health and Care Professions Council