Ofsted praises social workers with legislative ‘expertise’

Inspectors said social workers worked sensitively to balance the needs of children leaving care and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

court work
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Social workers have been praised for work with care leavers and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) in an improving local authority.

Ofsted inspectors during the focused inspection found social workers in Solihull children’s services were “knowledgeable” and demonstrated “expertise with legislation” in their work with UASC.

“Social workers demonstrate cultural sensitivity and an understanding of legislation and law in relation to the needs of young people arriving in this country,” the report said.

It added social workers were able to “sensitively balance the complex needs of young people” and were aware of risks associated with unaccompanied status, such as trafficking and emotional and physical harm.

Management oversight

Inspectors also found that senior leaders knew children’s services well, which had enabled them to improve the quality of practice and support for care leavers and UASC.

“Performance is managed well through appropriate use of data and there is a robust performance management process which identifies weaknesses that require remedial action. The children in care council, Our Voice Our Service (OVOS), has been revitalised and there is a more co-ordinated and involved corporate approach to young people in care and care leavers,” inspectors said.

Ofsted also praised the quality of management oversight, which was evident in all cases seen, and reflection and analysis helped “social workers and personal advisers to consider more fully any complex issues and how to achieve better outcomes”.

However, it commented that supervision was not “always consistent”, and there were instances where consideration of work was “more perfunctory and as a result less helpful”.

Inspectors recommended the local authority makes the approach to helping young people understand their personal histories “more routine” and ensure this happens at the young person’s pace.

Ken Meeson, cabinet member for children, education and skills in Solihull, said the council was pleased with the outcome of the visit: “However, we are not complacent, and we know that there are some areas we need to develop further.

“We will continue to improve and build on our success to deliver outstanding services for children and young people in Solihull.”

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