Keeping Devon’s children safe – December 2015 update

Department for Education update, Attachment and relationship based practice – the model which underpins the way we work – special.

Back copies of staff bulletins:

Key management messages

Dear colleague,

On the 18 December 2015 we met with the Department for Education (DfE) to review the progress of Devon’s Children’s Services in relation to the Intervention Notice set out by the DfE. This was an important meeting to consider the future of Devon’s Intervention Notice.

Although we will have to wait for the official decision from the minister in early January, it is our impression that the meeting went well and that DfE largely share our view that we have made great leaps of progress over the past couple of years. While DfE recognised the good progress made by Devon they did however also stress the importance of continuously seeking to improve and warned of the danger of complacency following “graduation” from intervention measures. We have done well to get to where we are now, but we have to acknowledge the risk of slipping backwards if we stand still. Secondly, DfE also highlighted that partnership-working continues to be a big challenge and that DCC needs to keep up work to ensure engagement in partnership-work from our colleagues in other agencies.

We will keep you all informed when we receive the official decision from the minister and in the meanwhile we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your hard work in relation to improving Devon’s Children’s Services. Without the continued efforts of all of you it would not have been possible to be where we are today.

Our Children’s Improvement Plan forms an integral part of our improvement journey, providing a high level view of the multi-agency activity that is working to improve outcomes for children, young people and families in Devon who are looked after or in need of protection.

Following the meeting with the DfE, the plan has been updated:

As we’ve mentioned before, we have made significant progress together and we have every confidence that we will continue to push forward with the actions,  to ensure we further improve the outcomes for children in Devon which remains a top priority for us all.

Important Security Reminder

The Council was recently notified of a potentially damaging information security incident where highly sensitive personal data relating to more than 100 individuals was printed insecurely. This information was identified by a member of staff as they sorted through their own printing and found it contaminated with the documents that another member of staff had sent to print. Had this information not been spotted, it may have been inadvertently disclosed, revealing information that could have potentially placed a large number of individuals at genuine risk of harm.

To avoid causing an incident such as this yourself, please remember that prior to sending any documents to print you must always first check that you have chosen the correct printer and that you have selected the ‘Locked Print’ function.

All staff must read and abide by the Council’s guide to Printing Information Securely. Managers are asked to ensure that their staff are aware of this guidance.

The Council’s Keep Devon’s Data Safe pages contain a range of practical security guides, which all staff are asked to read and abide by, at all times.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

May we take this opportunity to wish you a happy and healthy New Year, and to thank you for your continued support, professionalism and hard work.

Best wishes, Jennie and James

Attachment and relationship based practice – the model which underpins the way we work

In February 2015 we began a three-year strategy to embed ‘attachment and relationship based practice’ as the model which underpins the way we work with parents and carers, to help repair and re-parent children in Devon who need intervention.

“The project focuses on new ways of assessing risk and, more importantly, of offering help and support to children and families. This is the first department in the UK to train all its staff in the approach, and it demonstrates a genuine commitment to increase the confidence of practitioners in the continually demanding job of child protection”  Professor David Shemmings

In this special issue we cover:

  • Four-day training programme
  • Two-day Foster Carer training programme
  • Champions
  • Video and YouTube clips
  • NICE Guidance
  • Filming Guided Parenting Task
  • Key messages for managers
  • Work with the Judiciary
  • Evaluation

and provides a report on our progress on this journey and plans for the near future.

Newsletter Live:

Resources and future dates – Special Guardianship and Modern Slavery

We ran 13 half day sessions during October and November that were looking at Special Guardianship and the Modern Slavery Act. Overwhelmingly your feedback was positive with many finding it a great opportunity to keep up to date, network with colleagues and ensure curiosity in practice.

We encourage you to use these materials to discuss in your teams and the relevance of the topics covered to your particular area of practice.

Future dates…

The next round of sessions will take place in February and March 2016. The main focus of these sessions will be CSE and the new MACSEs, and the improved set of tools and guidance to help professionals identify and tackle child sexual exploitation.

And we welcome any feedback in regard to future development needs.

Devon’s Children, Young People and Families Alliance:

What it is? Who is part of it? And how you can engage with it?

Are you up to speed with the development of the Children’s Alliance? Are you promoting involvement for the children you are working with so that they can have their say about issues that affect children in Devon? Find out more here.

Important Update – Adult Social Care’s Refined Service Delivery Model

Over the past year work has taken place to internally re-organise the care management and support teams within Adult Social Care to sustain and improve service delivery, resilience and efficiency.

Find the key points for staff in children’s services to note.

Social Care Management Information – contacting by email

The names of email distribution groups and shared mailboxes for adult and childrens management information teams have been standardised to make it easier to use the right one and harder to use the wrong one. Find out which one to use.

HR update – Manager Briefing: Recruitment

Providing a monthly update on performance, workforce development and recruitment activity to share with social work teams.

Children’s Way We Work Group

Do you have any thoughts on how the way we work could be improved?  If so, please email the Children’s Way We Work mailbox with your suggestions:

childrenswaywework-mailbox@devon.gov.uk