Ofsted update – 20 September 2013

Ofsted update 20 September 2013 – Improving child protection in Devon sent to staff and Board members:

The pace of implementing our Improvement Plan is picking up and we’ve lots of work that is rapidly coming together to ensure the effective delivery of the Plan.

To help support you, we’ve information in this bulletin about a dedicated team being brought in to deal specifically with the backlog of assessments, and we provide some screen shots of the improved CareFirst system that’s being rolled out next month.


Improvement notice:

We have now received and formally accepted the improvement notice from the DfE. This provides more detail in a number of areas and describes the work of the Safeguarding Improvement Board (SIB), together with details of how the Board and DfE will monitor our progress. Professor Ray Jones, independent Chair of the SIB, will initially report back to the DfE in December.

Action Plan workstream updates

Quality of Practice

We are currently working on a strategy to support stability within the workforce, including the recruitment and retention of staff. We will be sending out a communication with more details about this very soon.

It has also been agreed that to help with the backlog of assessments, a dedicated team of eight social workers and manager will be with us from 30 September. We are still considering how best to deploy the team but this will most probably be managed dynamically with the focus on areas in most need first. The team will look to complete three assessments per day per social worker, allowing you to concentrate on what’s coming through the door now.

Care First

Improvements to the CareFirst system will be rolled out from mid-October. Overall, the way in which you use CareFirst will remain unchanged, but there will be a different look and feel following the upgrade. Please see the screen shots for more information.

Lean Review

The findings and recommendations from the lean process review were due to be presented to Members and senior managers on Monday 23 September, however this will be postponed due to a bereavement in the family of the lead consultant. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this – your views have been instrumental in shaping the report and identifying ways in which we can improve our business processes and procedures.

An implementation plan will be developed alongside the Ofsted Improvement Plan with lots of potential opportunities to help improve productivity and outcomes under the themes of structure and demand; systems; management; partnership working, and leadership, as well as cross-cutting themes.

A report will be circulated soon.

Early Help

The Early Help Strategy and DAF threshold criteria have all been agreed and signed off by the Devon Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB), securing a multi-agency approach to Early Help. There will be further engagement with children and young people and their families over the autumn.

An e-tool is being created for the DAF which will be accessible to all agencies, including those involved with the SEND pathway. Table-top exercises will be carried out as part of the implementation and the roll-out will start at the end of the year/beginning of January.

Quality Assurance

The Quality Assurance Framework will be presented to a meeting of the staff reference group on 26 September for feedback and input into implementation planning. The next Delivery Improvement Group (DIG) will also dedicate an hour to a presentation of the Framework on 14 October.

It is intended to have the first set of monthly (October) reports and quarterly reports available early November and the complete set of monthly (January) reports and quarterly (quarter three) in early February, with the QA Framework fully embedded at all levels by the beginning of 2014-15.

A smooth transition is key to the success of the Framework and implementation planning has begun to ensure leaders, managers and staff are supported in using the Framework to make a positive impact on the outcomes for children, young people and their families.

Case audit

The key findings from the external audit of 100 cases were presented at the latest round of staff briefings and can be seen here. A reminder that the key areas for development are:

  • Providing systematic, challenging supervision.
  • Putting children’s needs at the heart of case planning.
  • Thorough and rigorous risk assessment.

Work will continue with an internal peer audit to include 250 cases; 80 supervision sessions will be looked at in October to identify areas of good practice, and in the New Year there will be an LGA independent safeguarding peer review.

Looked after Children

The pace and impact assessments, reports and action plan of service improvements are on target for completion by the end of the month and will be presented at the next DIG meeting.



Autumn staff briefings

Thank you to everyone who came along to our autumn staff briefings; it was good to see you and to have the opportunity to answer your questions. If you couldn’t get there, the webcast of the session at County Hall can be seen here.

Keeping up-to-date

Don’t forget to keep checking our staff Source website http://staff.devon.gov.uk/ofsted/ where all supporting documents and information can be found including the engagement and event calendar.

Contact us

And remember that the dedicated mailbox is still open for any comments or questions you may have. Please email peopleservices-mailbox@devon.gov.uk  Each query is allocated and you should expect a timely response.


Kind regards

Jennie Stephens                               Will Mumford