“Exceptionally strong” front door services where social workers demonstrate “clear understanding and response to risk” have been praised by Ofsted.
Services in Redbridge have been judged as ‘good’ by inspectors in a report published last week.
“Children and their families are well supported by the offer of a wide range of early intervention and assessment services. Thresholds to services are very clear, appropriately applied and embedded across all agencies,” the report said.
Investment has been approved to keep caseloads manageable, inspectors found, and morale among social workers was high, with staff feeling valued.
“Frontline practitioners are well trained and supported effectively by diligent and available frontline and middle managers,” the report said.
The experience of care leavers was requiring improvement, inspectors said, but every service in the authority was rated ‘good’.
Inspectors highlighted how children’s cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds were “well recorded and dealt with sensitively by social workers”.
Ofsted said the high quality of help and protection services “is characterised by secure management grip”.
“Operational managers know their service well, and demonstrate a firm grasp of what is happening on a day-to-day basis regarding individual children’s lives.
“A robust system of case transfer panels ensures senior management oversight of every case. Considered allocation of work helps moderate turnover in staffing while supporting the influx of newly qualified social workers, following investment in services,” the report said.
The report warned that recent recruitment had “meant too many changes of social worker for some children and higher support needs for newly qualified social workers”.
Cultural characteristics of children need to be fully explored in all assessments and plans and the council should prioritise recruiting independent visitors and increase the capacity of the advocacy service, Ofsted recommended.