Inspectors have praised a council’s “exceptionally stable” social work teams as a factor in its overall ‘good’ rating.
Ofsted rated Bracknell Forest’s children’s services ‘good’ overall, but said staff were doing ‘outstanding’ work in adoption, looked-after children and care leaver services.
Inspectors said the council’s rigorous planning and provision of good quality training to social workers had developed a stable workforce of “proficient, experienced” practitioners.
The council’s social workers were found to be “extremely knowledgeable” about children they worked with, and were able to develop meaningful relationships with them.
“Inspectors saw excellent examples of imaginative ways of capturing children’s views, including a range of tools and drawings to identify their wishes and feelings. Children are supported effectively to participate in planning processes through a variety of means, including a commissioned advocacy service,” Ofsted’s report found.
Training and development
Inspectors said a caseload weighting system used by the council’s managers helped make sure social workers had manageable workloads.
“Staff have access to a comprehensive package of multi-agency training and developmental opportunities, as well as a range of information, research and materials via web-based learning and resource sites,” the report said.
Newly qualified social workers had a well-structured pathway through their first year, and social workers reported enjoying working for Bracknell Forest, the report added.
Ofsted said the authority had to improve the quality of case management oversight by team managers and child protection chairs to reduce drift and delay some children experienced, and improve life-journey books.
However, it concluded, “almost every child who accesses a service receives good or outstanding support”.
Nikki Edwards, Bracknell Forest’s director of children, young people and learning, said she was pleased with the inspection outcome.
She said: “I am particularly pleased Ofsted recognises the role every staff member plays in ensuring the children we support remain our number one priority. I am extremely proud of the team for their passion and commitment.”
Register now for Community Care Live London for two days of free and essential learning to boost your CPD, sharpen your legal knowledge and improve your practice, on 26-27 September.