Inspectors have praised a service’s “small team structure” which has enabled “management grip” on staffing issues and caseloads.
A focused visit of front door services for children in need of help and protection in North Tyneside praised “resolute” senior managers who had overseen an extensive transformation programme in the council.
It said there was a stable group of staff working in small team structures, and managers said they could support social workers to use new performance information to promote consistent practice and the implementation of a new model.
As well as the new evidence-based model of practice, the council’s transformation programme had seen a “fully functioning” multi-agency safeguarding hub established and a new electronic system.
Inspectors found staff “extremely positive” about working in the council, rated ‘good’ overall in 2017, and morale was high.
“They cite the support, supervision, training, clear career progression and the high visibility and approachability of senior managers as contributing to the positive learning culture in the council,” the report said.
In all cases looked at by inspectors relevant information was gathered and analysed well, which put risk at the forefront of decision making, inspectors found.
Staff identified immediate risk of harm effectively and initiated prompt and well-coordinated response, Ofsted found, and decisions to step down to early help were “clear, appropriate and seamless”.
Ofsted told the council that to continue to improve its service the new electronic system needed to be fine-tuned, and ensure that manager guidance with clear timescales was provided “at the outset” of an assessment.