Increased workforce stability and development improving ‘inadequate’ service

Doncaster social workers and managers report feeling "safer" in the children's trust

improving quality
Photo: Jakub Jirsak

Caseloads are reducing and employees feel safer in Doncaster children’s trust, an Ofsted monitoring inspection has said.

In its second monitoring visit since Doncaster children’s trust, which runs the area’s children’s services on behalf of the council, was rated ‘inadequate’ last year, Ofsted found increased workforce stability and development were helping the service to improve.

“The council and the trust have made significant progress in improving the quality of work since the single inspection in 2015,” the report said. “Clear, recent improvements in the quality of management oversight of casework have been supported by the successful recruitment of permanent team managers.”

Management oversight

The report added that the trust “knows itself well”, with effective performance and quality assurance measures in place. The voice of child was clear in the vast majority of cases, Ofsted added.

“All staff and managers who spoke with inspectors were positive about working for the trust in Doncaster and about the support, challenge and professional development that they receive. They described feeling that Doncaster is now a much safer place for children and for employees of the trust,” Ofsted said.

Stop the clock sessions

Ofsted also found that training for staff is targeted to address areas of concern.

“There are regular ‘stop the clock’ sessions, when practice advisers provide training on aspects of practice arising from quality audits or from social workers identifying shortfalls in their knowledge or experience,” the report said.

However, when it came to updating all assessments every six months some of the trust’s own “high standards” were not quite being met.

“Very detailed recording is evident, but insufficient focus is placed on the child’s experience, with limited consideration of wider family members,” the report said.

In addition, work undertaken in public law outline proceedings “is not of sufficient quality or effectively reviewed to ensure decisions that are made to enter proceedings or exit from the PLO process are consistent and timely”.

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