Inspectors have praised social workers in Hampshire for the quality of their practice when responding to domestic abuse.
A joint inspection of multi-agency responses to domestic violence conducted by Ofsted, the CQC and probation and criminal justice inspectors identified good practice across partner agencies. Social workers were found to be “committed and highly knowledgeable” and managing well with “higher than expected” caseloads.
“There is a high level of senior leadership awareness of the ‘front door’ service and domestic abuse, which is assisted by a continuity of leadership and a focus on keeping in touch with frontline practice and individual outcomes for children,” the inspectors’ report said.
Inspectors praised the quality of management oversight in children’s social work but warned some case records failed to “fully reflect the degree of detail, understanding or effort that is made by social workers”. They also complimented the “maturity” of partnership working locally, with local agencies having run a dedicated domestic abuse steering group for more than five years.
“The partnership in Hampshire has thoughtful and accessible senior managers who are visible to practitioners and who know their services well. There are clear performance management arrangements in each agency, and these are particularly strong in the local authority,” the report said.
Inspectors said the consistency of frontline practice needed to be improved, and highlighted “a very small number” of cases that were stepped down from child protection before significant change had been maintained in a family’s life. The needs of individuals within large families needed to be fully evident in children’s plans, they added.