I am writing to provide clarification on the FOI request I sent you recently, which was sent to other Local Authorities too. I have become aware that my request was lacking clarity on the expected response level of details, which led to some misunderstandings. Please found below a clarification.
The request is not for any detailed or lengthy description. So, where I am requesting a description, it should be brief as illustrated below by some made up examples.
(a) A description of the current structure of the social services in place for children and young people (up to the age of 25) with disabilities
“We have a single team that covers children and young people aged 0 until 25.”
“We have 2 teams: Team A covers children aged 0 until XX, and team B covers young people aged over XX until 25.”
Devon County Council has a single service (Disabled Children’s Service) which covers the whole county for children aged 0-18. There is a transition process to assist teenagers as they move towards adulthood and on to adult services from age 18.
(b) A description of the current governance of the social service(s) in place for children and young people (up to the age of 25) with disabilities
“Our team is jointly governed by our Children Services and our Adult Services departments.”
“Team A is governed (and staffed) by our Children Services department. Team B is governed (and staffed) jointly by our Children Services and our Adult Services departments.
Our teams (children’s and adults) are governed by Children’s Services and Adult Services.
(c) How this/these service(s) work(s) with other services or organisations such as SEN (Special Education Needs) or Health.
“There is a formal integration between our team and our local Health partner.”
“There is no formal working arrangements between our teams and other services. Collaborative working is facilitated between Team A & B and SEN through a board who meets monthly. Team B works closely with Health through an informal group that meets regularly and focusses on Business As Usual cases.”
Collaborative multi-agency working takes place across the county in a variety of ways, including for example co-location of health and social work teams.
(d) A description of any significant changes, made during the last 10 years, to the structure of the social services in place for children and young people (up to the age of 25) with disabilities.
“The current team set up was put in place in 2010. Previous to this we had 2 separate teams set up as follows: …etc. .”
“There has been no change made to our team structure over the past 10 years.”
The current team arrangements have been in place for approximately 12 Months The changes facilitated greater links with the mainstream social work teams to enable shared learning, more collaborative working and increased practice knowledge, for example in relation to child protection and communicating with children.
The offer to disabled children in Devon has two clear functions:
- Children and Young people who meet the criteria for support but do not require a social worker. These are supported through our Advice and Support Team.
- Children and Young People who meet the criteria for support but do require a social worker. These are supported by a locality based social work team.
Both of the above sit within our Disabled Children’s Service with one Area Manager and one Locality Director.
(e) A description of any significant changes, made during the last 10 years, to the governance of the social services in place for children and young people (up to the age of 25) with disabilities.
“The joint governance model is new and implemented as part of the organisation change.”
“There has been no change to our teams’ governance over the past 10 years.”
Our governance arrangements are part of our wider Children’s Services governance arrangements and are subject to regular review and update as required. We make changes to the ways in which the work of the teams is governed as we learn and develop.
(f) Any recorded lessons learned from these/this changes.
This would relate to changes described in (e) above.
Where applicable and if such records exist and are readily available, please provide a copy of the relevant document or extract of such document(s). This may be a review report or an end of project lessons learned report or log or an informal list.
If this part of the request can be answered, I would expect it to make up most the response lines.
We are subject to regular scrutiny both internally and externally (e.g. through inspection), and also regularly review our policies and procedures to ensure up to date practice and governance arrangements are in place. Our learning is an ongoing process.