OFSTED returns to Herefordshire Council's "inadequate" child protection service.

OFSTED returns to Herefordshire Council's

OFSTED returns to Herefordshire Council's "inadequate" child protection service.

First published in News
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Ledbury Reporter: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A MAJOR inspection of Herefordshire Council’s “inadequate” child protection service is underway.

OFSTED is undertaking a root and branch review of progress the service may have made since being ranked amongst the worst in the country in 2012.

Then, every area of child safeguarding practice in the county was branded “inadequate”.

 

The council hopes measures taken since have moved the service on, but it is already acknowledged that improvements have some way to go.

OFSTED moved in at the end of last month for an inspection expected to last at least four weeks.

 

The process includes case file auditing and case tracking where inspectors will follow up on a number of children to see what their experience of the system has been.

A preview of the resulting report will be put to the council with the final report due out by July.

The council is committed to reaching a “good”  rating for child safeguarding by 2016.

Last month, the council interpreted a national poll as saying its child protection teams had seen case loads cut.

With the service seeing its overall caseload approach 2,000, individual case load reduction and management are essential to improvement plans, as are staff recruitment and retention and  better record keeping.

OFSTED has recognised the serious impact on already strained frontline morale with added pressure from performance management.

Despite additional resources since, teams continue to report real challenges over workloads.

On average, a social worker in children’s services can be expected to deal with dozens of cases at any one time.

A cut in caseloads does not mean a fall in child protection cases.

In Herefordshire, the council says, case loads have fallen from 35 per case worker to 16 since the “inadequate” rating.

Comments (4)

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7:48pm Mon 12 May 14

yokelyokel says...

It sounds like they are making progress. Lets hope that the presence of the inspectors hasn't diverted them from their important work.

Will ofsted be asking what is happening at Barrs Court special school? Something seems a bit strange there at the moment.
It sounds like they are making progress. Lets hope that the presence of the inspectors hasn't diverted them from their important work. Will ofsted be asking what is happening at Barrs Court special school? Something seems a bit strange there at the moment. yokelyokel
  • Score: 6

1:38pm Tue 13 May 14

Tombanellie says...

Will be interesting to see if the Director of service considers her position if things are no better ( she didn't last time) scapegoats were made but she remained above all that . We shall see!!
Will be interesting to see if the Director of service considers her position if things are no better ( she didn't last time) scapegoats were made but she remained above all that . We shall see!! Tombanellie
  • Score: 8

2:30pm Tue 13 May 14

WYSIATI says...

I need more explanation of the case load numbers - if the number of child protection cases have not dropped but caseloads are down from 35 to 16 does that mean more than twice as many social workers (I doubt it), half the time to deal with them (in which case what happens to them?) or what?

Yokelyokel - what's going on at Barrs Court?

Presumably the school is now independent of local authority control (whatever that meant) and I doubt it would fall under safeguarding so I imagine it's up to Governors and Ofsted school inspections.

Overall I hope that the safeguarding service has grappled with the problems, identified poor practice at every level and taken steps to address shortfalls. These guys do a hard job, dealing with children who are neglected or abused or worse by people who should be loving, protecting and caring for them. In the worst cases the people doing the abusing work extremely hard to hide it and prevent anyone helping. Set that work in the context of a climate of disrespect and spending cuts and it's no wonder that people leave the profession and it's hard to get anyone to take it on. Good luck!
I need more explanation of the case load numbers - if the number of child protection cases have not dropped but caseloads are down from 35 to 16 does that mean more than twice as many social workers (I doubt it), half the time to deal with them (in which case what happens to them?) or what? Yokelyokel - what's going on at Barrs Court? Presumably the school is now independent of local authority control (whatever that meant) and I doubt it would fall under safeguarding so I imagine it's up to Governors and Ofsted school inspections. Overall I hope that the safeguarding service has grappled with the problems, identified poor practice at every level and taken steps to address shortfalls. These guys do a hard job, dealing with children who are neglected or abused or worse by people who should be loving, protecting and caring for them. In the worst cases the people doing the abusing work extremely hard to hide it and prevent anyone helping. Set that work in the context of a climate of disrespect and spending cuts and it's no wonder that people leave the profession and it's hard to get anyone to take it on. Good luck! WYSIATI
  • Score: 4

2:32pm Tue 13 May 14

yokelyokel says...

Tombanellie wrote:
Will be interesting to see if the Director of service considers her position if things are no better ( she didn't last time) scapegoats were made but she remained above all that . We shall see!!
Doubt it very much.

She didn't resign after the Eunice Spry child abuse scandal in Gloucester.

My other posting above relates to the (so I hear) suspension from duty of the headteacher of Barrs Court - in charge of the most vulnerable children in the county. Everyone seems too frightened to talk about it but surely the way that that person was recruited to such a sensitive position (having worked for Jo Davidson) must raise questions.
[quote][p][bold]Tombanellie[/bold] wrote: Will be interesting to see if the Director of service considers her position if things are no better ( she didn't last time) scapegoats were made but she remained above all that . We shall see!![/p][/quote]Doubt it very much. She didn't resign after the Eunice Spry child abuse scandal in Gloucester. My other posting above relates to the (so I hear) suspension from duty of the headteacher of Barrs Court - in charge of the most vulnerable children in the county. Everyone seems too frightened to talk about it but surely the way that that person was recruited to such a sensitive position (having worked for Jo Davidson) must raise questions. yokelyokel
  • Score: 7

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