Managers struggling to cover for social worker sickness or leave at ‘inadequate’ council

Inspectors have said progress is too slow in a council rated ‘inadequate’

Croydon town centre
Photo: Croydon Council

A lack of capacity in a council’s children’s social work service means managers “struggle to ensure that children receive a satisfactory service” when staff are sick or on leave, an Ofsted inspection has found.

The monitoring inspection of Croydon’s children’s services, judged ‘inadequate’ in an Ofsted inspection last year, said progress had been “too slow” in improving progressing child in need plans to child protection and how the council progresses into the public law outline.

Inspectors said “urgent” workforce issues were being addressed by senior leaders, and that some agency social workers and team managers had become permanent.

However, the report noted: “Performance data on social worker caseload volume is inaccurate, as it fails to take into account the cases that are currently allocated to team managers. This reporting error is being amended.”

“At the time of the monitoring visit, there were 23 cases allocated to a manager, with no named social worker. There is no clear process to manage these cases, which are temporarily allocated either when a social worker leaves or at the point of transfer from assessment teams to care planning teams,” the report said.

‘Inconsistent’ quality

Management oversight of practice was too variable, inspectors said, and while there was more supervision, the quality was “inconsistent”.

There were some examples of timely escalation and implementation of action plans, the monitoring inspection found, but there were too many children experiencing delays, and a “lack of recognition of the lived experience of children in neglectful circumstances or where risks are increasing”.

This meant decisions to escalate pre-proceedings did not happen “soon enough”, inspectors said.

Inspectors did find progress, and said the application of a practice model was becoming more evidence, and practitioners were positive about the training they received.

“The introduction of group supervision within teams is also valued by social workers, and inspectors saw good examples of the impact of this,” the report said.

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One Response to Managers struggling to cover for social worker sickness or leave at ‘inadequate’ council

  1. Sylvia's Mother August 13, 2018 at 8:40 am #

    Group supervision is not new in Croydon, it has been an aspect of SW supervision since 2014. Group Reflective Supervision been disrupted by many structural changes within the organisation during that time.Currently not all teams receive Group Reflective Supervision, nor is there operational consistency or any quality assurance standards. Organisationally fundamental changes need to be made, such as the recruitment of permanent Senior Management and representation from children and families for improvement, because this organisation is completely out of touch with it’s core function to enable families and protect children. Good Social Workers ultimately leave.