Keeping Devon’s children safe – March 2014 update

Children’s Improvement Board, Back to Social Work, Panels and Brokerage, CS102 form and more.

Back copies of staff bulletins:


Dear colleague

Welcome to this month’s edition of Keeping Devon’s Children Safe, which keeps you up to date with the latest developments and information affecting children’s services.

Now that the Back to Social Work structure has had time to bed in, we hope you are feeling the benefits of less bureaucracy in the system and that stronger working relationships are being built up across the service, and with our partners. Professor Ray Jones, independent Chair of the Children’s Improvement Board, made it clear at the last meeting that, as a result of the new structure, he expects to see noticeable and evidenced improvement in performance over the next two to three months.

A key aspect of Back to Social Work is the development of a professional career development pathway to provide a quality experience for staff, and give you the professional stimulation and career progression you deserve.

Much work has been taking place with of HR colleagues to build a workforce strategy and more details of the progress being made in this area, and some recent decisions taken by the Delivery Improvement Group to support career progression, can be found in this bulletin.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email

Update from Children’s Improvement Board

Key messages from Professor Ray Jones, independent Chair of the Children’s Improvement Board (CIB)

At the recent CIB, Professor Jones stated that he was pleased to see the new Back to Social Work structure in place and, as a result, he now expects to see noticeable and evidenced improvement in performance over the next two to three months.

He also welcomed the roll-out of the Devon Assessment Framework next month, alongside the start of the Early Help Co-ordination Centre. These were cited as key developments which Ray expects to help free up professionals to spend more time with children and families.

There was also recognition from the Board that staff are very busy and that we must all focus on doing the important things that will protect children and improve their lives.

Ofsted Improvement Programme Overview

At the recent Children’s Safeguarding and Improvement Board, a programme overview report was presented. This highlighted

  • the overall trend in enquiries into the MASH
  • referrals for social care assessements from MASH
  • the overall number of children awaiting an assessment
  • how we can improve monitoring against the new Single Assessment Framework
  • increasing focus on improving recruitment and retention, and better management oversight following the resent restructure
  • ensuring that more case audits are undertaken to improve practice locally.

Learning from best practice in other local authoritiesBetween October and December 2013, a range of DCC officers attended best practice visits in Plymouth, Gateshead and Lincolnshire.These local authorities’ child protection arrangements were judged to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted at their last inspection. They also visited Cornwall who had recently been graded ‘adequate’ after being subject to an Improvement Notice.Read the report, the actions and the key findings.