Keeping Devon’s children safe – November 2015 update

Key management messages

Dear colleague,

Following the Ofsted inspection earlier this year, and the increased focus on partnership working in both the inspection framework and as a result of the recommendations from Ofsted it is appropriate that our focus is more outward looking on working together with our partners to improve outcomes for the children and young people of Devon through the Children, Young People and Families Alliance. Therefore, arrangements for the monitoring of the Children’s Improvement Plan have changed and the remaining scheduled meetings of the DCC Devon Improvement Group (DIG) have been cancelled.

However, that does not mean that our focus on continuing our improvement journey will stop. A monthly progress report against the plan and our Quality Assurance framework is provided to Leadership Team People (LTP) with regular updates also going to the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT), Children’s Overview Group of the People’s Scrutiny Committee and the Children, Young People and Families Alliance Executive. We also publish regular updates of progress in this Keeping Devon Children’s Safe newsletter and on The Source so you will be able to continue to monitor how we are progressing against our objectives. In addition, we will continue to work together across all aspects of the Council following on from the good work of this group in demonstrating the benefits of a one council approach in helping to deliver improved outcomes for children in Devon.

We would like to thank you all for your valued contributions to the improvement programme for the children of Devon – helping us to move from our ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted rating of 2013 to ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2015. We have made significant progress together and we have every confidence that we will continue to push forward with the actions detailed in our DCC Children’s Improvement Plan to ensure we further improve the outcomes for children in Devon which remains a top priority for us all.

Best wishes, Jennie and James


Social Work Workforce Survey

This survey provides the opportunity to give your views about your job, the support you receive, and other work related matters. It should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete.

To ensure the feedback we receive reflects the views of the social work population, and not just a few members of staff, we would like all social work staff and SWTROs to complete this survey by Wednesday 16 December.

Complete the survey online now:

Keeping children and families together

The Family Drug and Alcohol Court pilot will help us keep families together in a number of ways

Devon’s children’s social care service, in conjunction with Plymouth and Torbay and the Family Courts in Plymouth, Torquay and Exeter is piloting an alternative approach to care proceedings when the main issues is alcohol and substance misuse.

Find out more.

Good news for Atkinson Secure Children’s Home

Young people say they feel safe and that they see the home as a safe haven

Following on from Ofsted’s recent visit to the Atkinson Secure Children’s Home, Exeter, where they praised the progress made by the staff team in developing both the care and education aspects of the home, the inspection report can be read in full.

Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for children’s services, said:

“Once again, the home has achieved a good inspection from Ofsted.  We’re not complacent however and we know that we’ve got some improvements to make to the way the service works.

“I’m pleased that these improvements are not preventing the young people from receiving the care and support they need, and that the service is doing well in helping young people return to the community as soon and as safely as possible.”

Child Sexual Exploitation – launch of new MACSEs and M7 Child Sexual Exploitation risk assessment

The Devon Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB) has launched a new set of tools and guidance to help professionals identify and tackle child sexual exploitation

Missing And Child Sexual Exploitation forums (MACSEs) have been remodelled so that sexual exploitation concerns relating to any child, potential perpetrator or location can be submitted for information sharing. There are three MACSE’s in Devon covering the North, the South and Exeter & East.  Find out about the risk assessment and your named REACH social worker.

Workforce Development

Devon Children’s Social Care Academy website launched

We are pleased to confirm that the website for Devon Children’s Social Care Academy is now up and running!

The Academy is structured into faculties that reflect stages in professional development for both social work qualified staff and other professionals who work in the service.  Find out more.

Devon's Alliance

Introducing Devon’s Children, Young People and Families Plan

Based on a series of listening events, Devon’s first Children, Young People and Families Plan sets out a clear ambition. Find out more (PDF version)

Email distribution groups  – helping you find the right one

The easiest way to view the one hundred and fifty plus current childrens  social care email groups on their own is as follows:

  2. Select TO
  3. In the Address Book select ALL GROUPS
  4. Highlight the MORE COLUMNS radar button
  5. Type in childrenssocialcare
  6. Do not include spaces
  7. Click GO

This will help you to choose the right one and avoid using the wrong one. It is also good practice to check these before requesting a new one to avoid duplication.

Outlook screenshot

Email distribution groups – Which are you on ?

To get a full list of all the groups you are a member of you can do the following:

1.       In Outlook, select NEW EMAIL

2.       Click TO

3.       Search for your OWN NAME

4.       Right click on it

5.       Select PROPERTIES

6.       Open the MEMBER OF tab

7.       You will then see a list of all the email distribution groups you are a member of.

This will help you to identify if there are any you should no longer be in, or any missing that you need to be included in.

You can do this for anybody else as well, useful for supervisors, line managers and team leaders.

Non-school attendance

School attendance in Devon is good and above national average. This article shows how Devon currently addresses non-attendence.

Infant free school meals

With around one in three children in England leaving primary school overweight or obese, there is an urgent need to address the issue of obesity in children

Read the article in full here

November 2015

Important updates

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:

Children’s commissioning mailbox and its uses

From 2 November 2015, you can use our new Children’s Commissioning  Mailbox to log any quality assurance issues or concerns you may have regarding any provision in Devon or where we have a child or young person placed which may include out of area, to the attention of the Children and Families Commissioning team.

Find out more.

Transition to adopters

In order to improve transitions of children into adoptive placements, policy, guidelines and a transitions pack has been devised to support those professionals involved in adoption cases. The work has been endorsed by the Children’s Way We Work Group and is based on evidence and research surrounding separation, grief and loss and promoting healthy attachments for children moving into permanent families.

Find out more.

Do you want to know more about adoption?

Do you have an adoption case?

The Adoption Team is running training workshops especially designed for new Children’s Social Workers, ASYE and newly qualified/appointed social workers. Book now!

Attachment and relationship based practice update

Many of you will have completed or be booked to complete the four-day Attachment and Relationship Based Practice Training. If so, you will be interested in the following updates:

  • Filming
  • Video refreshers
  • Champions
  • What is working?

Find out more.


Amendements to the D5 Child Plan and D6 Record of Meeting on CareFirst

Amendments were made live on CareFirst earlier in November. The changes have been made following consultation with social work colleagues to improve usability of the forms and ensure appropriate inform is captured for effective planning.

The changes will also be used to improve the printable version of the Child Plan.

Read the amendments.

HP Records Manager (formerly TRIM) document file structure

Resources and Publications


Sign up for the latest news from Signis which covers three well-established partnership organisations: PRICE Training, Tri.x and Reconstruct. It aims to provide those working with vulnerable people with the best information, practice guidance, training and consulting available

The latest e-bulletin includes:

  • Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and Reducing Restrictive Practices
  • Briefings
  • Department for Education Open Consultation
  • Training for Professionals

Sign up to Tri.x  here


Learning Curve

The latest journal of our Performance Development Team contains articles about Devon’s coaching network and the recent ILM Award ceremony,  our apprentices’ latest group challenge, and information on all of our courses. Dive in!

Have you had your free flu jab yet?

Once again we are encouraging all front line health and social care staff and people who are essential to business continuity* to get the free flu jab. (*Ask your manager if you are eligible).

It is important to let your manager know you have had it, so that our Emergency Planning team can capture data on the numbers of staff vaccinated.

Take a look at our updated flu vaccination programme information on the Source including how to claim back expenses using Your Self Service.


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Keeping Devon’s Children Safe public website

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