Social workers praised for ‘working around’ inadequate IT system to deliver high-quality support

Ofsted rates North Tyneside children’s services as ‘good’ overall but warns IT system does not support good social work practice

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Ofsted inspectors have praised a council’s social workers for working “around” an inadequate computer system to deliver good support for children and families.

North Tyneside’s children’s services was rated ‘good’ overall but drew criticism for an electronic client database that “does not support good social work practice”.

“Despite these significant issues, social workers work ‘around the system’, and much recording is of a good quality,” inspectors said.

Senior managers had acknowledged the problem, and a replacement system is due in 2018.


More broadly inspectors praised the “high-quality social work” and “excellent focus” on the views of children in North Tyneside. The council’s services for care leavers were judged to be ‘outstanding’ by inspectors.

Social workers were well supported by senior leaders, and high caseloads had been tackled since Ofsted’s last inspection.

“There is good investment in developing a culture for good social work to flourish, with a strong emphasis on continuing professional development leading to solid social work practice,” inspectors found.

“Social workers and managers told inspectors that North Tyneside promotes a nurturing, personable culture, with visible and supportive management at all levels of the service,” the report added.

A small number of children had seen their social worker changed “too many times”, inspectors found. The report said increased staff turnover in the council was down to neighbouring councils offering higher wages and other benefits.

The council has responded by offering staff a “market supplement” as part of their recruitment and retention package while a longer-term remuneration package is agreed.

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5 Responses to Social workers praised for ‘working around’ inadequate IT system to deliver high-quality support

  1. Anita Singh June 14, 2017 at 3:26 pm #

    How can there have been good quality recording if the IT system was inadequate? This is a problem for many social workers where a huge amount of time and effort is invested in attempting to work around inadequate IT systems. For example if a report or minutes of a meeting are recorded within the case record due to problems with using an existing template on the IT system, in my experience this resulted in constant emails from senior managers or IROs or CP Chairs, who would conclude that all of my cases in the red, as tasks had not been completed (according to their audits based on the recording on the IT system), despite that information was recorded in case recording to get round the problem. It seems that the judgment of work differs according to which LA you are working for. Also a huge amount of stress caused as a result.

  2. Catharina Simpson June 14, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

    Ofsted maybe should interview social workers who have left the authority in the last year. I certainly didn’t leave because of financial reasons and I think very few workers did.

    • Angela Stephenson June 20, 2017 at 9:08 pm #

      I left to further my career.

      You can only speak for yourself Catharina and perhaps a well done to North Tyneside wouldnt go amiss.

  3. Rosaline June 14, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

    This is a good news story for social workers, demonstrating that once you are a conscientious and good practitioner, you work around boundaries and barriers and focus on good outcomes. Well done, I am very proud.

  4. Spotty Dog's mum June 18, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    I am wondering which particular ‘inadequate IT system’ North Tyneside are using. Expect many of us have ideas which it may be!! Or possibly not, too many to choose from!!