Keeping Devon’s children safe – June 2015 update

Early Help update, Improvement Plan, recruiting Children’s Way We Work Group (CWWWG), Lean Review updates and much more.

Back copies of staff bulletins:

Key management messages

Dear colleague

Following on from our Ofsted inspection earlier in the year, we are required to produce an improvement plan to address the findings of the report – making sure that we particularly focus on the areas of weakness identified by the inspection team. We are developing a Devon Children’s Improvement Plan, which will set out our ambition to get to ‘Good’ but also has a wider focus than just the Ofsted report.

And, over the coming week we will begin the process of recruiting to the posts of Head of Children’s Social Work, and Head of Adult Social Care. As you will be aware, we are expecting it to be challenging to find the appropriate professionals to appoint and have been working with HR colleagues on a national recruitment campaign.

During her time with us, Fiona Fitzpatrick has provided fantastic leadership, culminating in an improved Ofsted rating. With her contract coming to an end, we are looking for a permanent Head of Service who can continue to drive innovative change and improve outcomes for children, young people and families.

We will keep you informed of any developments with the recruitment process.

Early Help – what do you know?

Our focus of this month’s bulletin is on Early Help and the way we’re delivering our services. With changes happening at a rapid rate, we outline processes and bring you up-to-date with new developments and staff changes:

Children’s Safeguarding and Improvement Board (CIB)

There was a focus on health at the June meeting of CIB, with a number of health professionals joining the Board.

The meeting engaged in a wide ranging discussion about mental health services for children and young people, including considering the provision that is now in place.

David Taylor, DSCB Chair, reported that a review has been commissioned across CCGs, local authorities and the DSCB regarding young people in hospital wards with mental health needs and how agencies work together to safeguard them.


Reflecting on the meeting, independent Chair, Professor Ray Jones, once again stressed the importance of professionals taking every opportunity to join up and share expertise and experience. It was agreed that all professionals will open up their meetings on a regular basis to safeguarding colleagues, extending invitations across localities and professional groups.

Read the CIB update.

Newsletter Live – update on MCA, the Care Act and the ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ project

We have had positive feedback from this round of Newsletter Live sessions and have included the slides for reference. We want to make you aware of a new ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ project, initiated in light of the Care Act legislation, SEN reforms last year and areas of improvement from our recent Ofsted inspection.

NYAS advocacy update and using the Independent Visitor Service

NYAS children’s advocacy has gone from strength to strength, supporting 164 children and young people in Devon during the first three months of 2015, and gaining positive comments from the recent Ofsted inspection.

NYAS provides adult volunteer Independent Visitor for children in care, helping them to benefit from a positive role model.

Read the update, some comments from people in Devon, and find out how to make a referral.

Management Restructure

Fiona Fitzpatrick, Interim Head of Children’s Social Work Service and Child Protection, is pleased to confirm that the Children’s Services Management restructure has now been completed.

Expand your DCC career in social work

Parity has been achieved between adult social worker and children and family social worker pay grades and all experienced social workers in adult services working for Devon County Council.

Children’s Brokerage Team job opportunities

An opportunity has arisen within Children’s Social Care Commission for two fixed term or secondment opportunities within the Children’s Brokerage Team.

HR update – Manager Briefing: Recruitment

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

Updated Children in Care webpage and resources

Our Children in Care  web page now contains a letter from Jennie Stephens, Strategic Director – People, detailing all resources and services available to other local authorities that place their children in care within the Devon County Council area.

While you are there, have a look around the new Education and Families website. Thank you to all the teams that have contributed content and feedback, if you have any further feedback please


closure of The College of Social Work

The College will be closing due to lack of funds. Read the official statement here.

“We are your voice, tell us what to say”

Our newly elected Members of Youth Parliament for Devon and their deputies were featured recently in the North Devon Journal.

The Youth Work Team congratulate everyone involved.

June 2015

Important updates

Lean Review update

The Lean Review implementation project continues to involve colleagues to focus on improvements:

Children’s Way We Work Group (CWWWG)

Placing a child for adoption – a  Transitions Pack has been introduced and recently approved by the CWWWG.

Special Guardianship Team is now up and running find out what advice and support is available to social workers

Social workers… managers… social care practitioners…

Childcare procedure manual update on TRI.x

Our Devon County Council Children’s Services Procedures Manual has been updated. Did you know you can be alerted about TRI.x updates? Find out more.

Children’s social care laptops – single device – docking stations

600 laptops and 185 docking stations have now been issued. Find out which sites will be affected by this project.

Resources and Publications

Long term fostering: new regulations and guidance

Does your work cover the permanency planning process, fostering, or placements?

Then make sure you have read the new regulations and guidance that came into force on 1st April 2015.

Free webinar: how to use the trauma model to assess contact with birth families

Community Care webinar on Monday 29 June from 7pm to 8pm

June is Gypsy, Roma and Travellers History Month

A survey asked Devon’s Gypsies, Roma and Travellers: “In the last twelve months have you been the victim of any racist incidents, comments or attitudes in Devon?”

What was the reponse?

Come and find out more from the display.

The 2015 Social Worker of the Year Awards are open for entry

The Social Worker of the Year Awards are about recognising the excellent, diverse work that takes place in the profession and celebrating the many outstanding achievements of social workers across England. Entries close at 5pm on Friday 24July 2015. Find out how to enter.

Focus on fees

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) recently consulted on proposals to increase its registration fees.

The HCPC expects its fees will increase from 1 August 2015 subject to parliamentary approval of changes to our statutory rules. Existing registrants will pay the new renewal fee when their profession renews its registration after this date.

Research in Practice

The research summaries last month focus on neglect.

Create an account, if you don’t already have one, to access more polices and guidance on the RiP website.

If you have pre-school or school-aged children – did you know you could get help with childcare costs?

Find out how our current Childcare Voucher Scheme works and how a new Government-run scheme will be implemented from autumn. (PDF version)

Missed an issue?

Keeping Devon’s Children Safe public website