Ofsted update – 9 September 2013

Ofsted update 9 September 2013 – Improving child protection in Devon sent to staff and Board members:

In this issue we update on our workstreams including the latest with the Lean Review and case audits. We also draw your attention to some new resources on our Ofsted website including a training and engagement calendar and Ofsted scorecard – and don’t forget the staff briefings of the 19 September.

Learning from other authorities:

We have now agreed a visit to Plymouth on 3 October, alongside Gateshead Borough on Tuesday 15 October, with a date for Lincolnshire to be confirmed shortly. These visits will be a chance for a range of staff to share learning and best practice with other authorities who have been judged ‘good’ or above by Ofsted.

Staff training and engagement calendar:

A training and engagement calendar has been developed on our Ofsted webpages and will be regularly updated with dates and times of briefings, training sessions and relevant events. Please keep an eye on this to find out what’s going on, where and when.

Ofsted scorecard:

A performance scorecard has been developed to assist the Children’s Safeguarding Improvement Board to monitor the impact and effectiveness of plans and can also be found on the website.

Improvement Notice:

The actions in the Improvement Notice will be considered alongside our existing Action and Improvement Plan and will be monitored through the Safeguarding Improvement Board. An initial review of progress against the Notice will be held by the Department for Education in February 2014, with a final review in September 2014.

Action Plan workstream updates:

Quality of Practice

The lean process review team has now concluded the workshops with staff and are writing their draft report, bringing together all of their findings from the past five weeks. This report will be presented to senior managers and Members on the 23 September, and we hope to be able to update all staff very shortly after that about the main recommendations and the agreed implementation plan. Further information about this will be provided at the staff engagement events coming up on 19 September.

The review team have been very impressed by the openness, honesty and enthusiasm staff attending the workshops have shown and the opportunities for change that have been identified. All the information provided, and the constructive and helpful participation from staff, will make all the difference in enabling the team to develop clear and thorough recommendations to help us work more effectively in the future.

Early Help

Consultation on the draft Early Help Strategy is on-going, with the outcome to be reported to the Devon Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB) on the 13 September.

User engagement is currently being devised as a mixture of web based surveys and focus groups, led by Paul Giblin. This engagement will take place through the autumn to the end of November. Together with the mapping work on Early Help service, this work will help us identify gaps in service provision and most importantly the views of service users. Findings from this work will be reported to the DSCB at its December meeting.

Quality Assurance

The external audit of 100 cases identified areas of good practice and commitment by staff. Key areas for development are:

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

There will be a follow up to the audit week commencing 14 October, when there will be a focus on supervision and observation of 80 cases, with feedback to supervisors and social workers as well as an overall report to the Improvement Board.

Having in place a robust means of assuring the quality of our work is a key Ofsted requirement and by the end of the month we will have agreed our approach to quality assurance.  As part of this work a revised case auditing system is being rolled out in October, designed to support good practice and help identify where we can improve.  Implementation will include training and regular reporting to staff on how we are doing.

Looked after Children

As many of you know, there is a possibility that Ofsted will return soon to inspect our services for looked after children. We’ve been doing some work to self assess ourselves against the standards Ofsted will use to judge us and Tim Golby, Head of Social Care Commissioning, is carrying out a series of Pace and Impact assessments for looked after children. These assessments will look at our plans for improving services for looked after children and whether they will deliver what’s needed and quickly enough. A plan will come out of this work setting out how we intend to make things better for our children in care.

Devon Safeguarding Children Board update

Part of the work of the Devon Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB), led by chair David Taylor, is to identify new and improved ways of working with key partners, including engaging children and young people. The next meeting will take place on 13 September where this will be discussed in more detail.


Autumn staff briefings – 19 September 2013

Please remember to put Thursday 19 September 2013 in your diary and attend an update briefing at one of the following venues:

  • Barnstaple Library: 9.00am-10.30am
  • County Hall, Council Chamber, Exeter: 12.00pm-1.30pm
  • Watermark Centre, Ivybridge: 3.00pm-4.30pm.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback at the briefings, which will also be attended by Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health, who is leading our Early Help work, Rob Parkhouse, Head of Business Strategy and Support, who will provide feedback on the Lean Review, and David Taylor who will present an update in the audit of 100 cases.

If, following the briefings, you have a question you would like answered, don’t forget you can email peopleservices-mailbox@devon.gov.uk

Keeping up-to-date

And don’t forget to keep checking our Source website http://staff.devon.gov.uk/ofsted/ where all supporting documents and information can be found.

Contact us

Please do let us know through the dedicated mailbox of any particular problems or issues in your area and any ideas you have for how we can improve what we do. We will allocate each query or question to an officer and you should expect a timely response – please email peopleservices-mailbox@devon.gov.uk

Kind regards

Jennie Stephens                               Will Mumford