Buckinghamshire council has tightened its performance management of social workers after Ofsted found practitioners were failing to complete actions recommended in supervision.
A monitoring inspection of Buckinghamshire’s inadequate-rated children’s services found progress had been made in improving practice but warned social workers “do not always complete” actions from supervision and managers had failed to “rigorously track or challenge” this.
“Consequently, there has been drift and delay for some children,” inspectors said, adding that the council had introduced a “more robust auditing and performance management approach” to tackle the issue.
The visit was the second monitoring inspection of Buckinghamshire’s services since they were rated ‘inadequate’ in 2014.
The inspectors focused on improvements made in looked-after children services and found steady progress and improving practice from social workers.
“The current leadership team has been effective in achieving improvements in some parts of the service, most notable in the work carried out to strengthen the independent reviewing service, stabilise the workforce, and improve the timeliness and quality of children’s health assessments,” the report said.
There was an increased emphasis on the quality of social work practice after the council’s auditing tool was published. This had created “greater focus on the child’s lived experience”.
David Johnston, managing director for children’s social care and learning, said the monitoring visit showed encouraging signs.
“Although considerable work still needs to be done, it’s another positive milestone for us to continue to build on,” Johnston said.