Social workers have been praised after Ofsted found they “exceed the expectations of their role” at an ‘outstanding’ children’s services department in order to help children thrive.
Inspectors lauded practitioners at Lincolnshire council, finding children in care could build “strong, consistent and extremely positive relationships with their social workers”.
“Social workers show dedication and have high aspirations for children. Achievements, no matter how small, are celebrated on a daily basis as well as at an annual awards ceremony,” Ofsted found.
Overall effectiveness was rated outstanding as a result of ‘outstanding’ senior leadership and services for children in care and care leavers. Meanwhile services for children in need of help and protection were rated good.
‘Highly motivated’ leaders
Inspectors praised the “highly motivated and extremely child-centred senior leadership team”, who responded well to an earlier focused visit to the service.
“The model of practice that is thoroughly embedded in children’s services is understood, valued and used by a very stable, highly skilled workforce and by partners,” the report said.
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Ofsted also highlighted the impact of investment in high-quality early help and several innovative projects, which it said were making “a tangible and positive difference to the lives of children and families”.
In particular, inspectors singled out investment in the workforce as “instrumental” for delivering stable and experienced teams of social workers.
“Caseloads are manageable across all teams. Staff benefit from an extensive range of training which has developed their competence, skills and confidence in communicating with children and families,” the Ofsted report said.
Staff felt well supported in their roles, received regular, high-quality reflective supervision and were “unanimously positive about and committed to working for Lincolnshire”.
“Staff turnover is low. The senior leadership team recognises the importance of being visible and accessible, and, as a result of the highly supportive, yet highly challenging, environment created, the workforce feels valued and proud to work in Lincolnshire,” inspectors concluded.