To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families which provides a further update surrounding the Improvement Plan linked to the recent Ofsted Focused Visit to the Leeds Children and Families Front Door Service in July 2021.
The Director of Children and Families submitted a report to further update the Board on the implementation of the Improvement Plan that was put in place in response to the recommendations stemming from the Ofsted Focused Visit to Leeds back in July 2021.
Present at the meeting for this item were:
· Councillor Jonathan Pryor - Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education
· Councillor Fiona Venner - Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships
· Sal Tariq - Director of Children and Families
· Julie Longworth - Deputy Director of Children and Families
· Ruth Terry - Chief Officer Social Work
The Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships gave a brief introduction, acknowledging that the Scrutiny Board had previously requested to be kept regularly updated on the implementation plan.
The Director of Children and Families also introduced the report and highlighted the following points:
· That the Inspectors had found no areas of serious weakness but highlighted three areas for improved practice, as set out in paragraph 3 of the submitted report. These are addressed in the action plan and referenced as recommendations A, B and C.
· In response to recommendation A around the consistency and quality of assessments, it was highlighted that the training and development offer for social workers and social work managers had been reviewed and enhanced by a programme of learning, focusing on assessment skills, report writing and decision making. A new action learning programme has been developed to support consistency in audit, supervision and planning. The service has also commissioned Professor David Shemmings to undertake sessions based around new ideas on decision making for social work leaders and practitioners; producing analytical reports and records; and new insights for practitioners on assessments and decision making.
· In response to Recommendation B around the quality and impact of management oversight and supervision, an action plan has been established at Duty and Advice which ensures all contacts to the front door are reviewed if they do not have an outcome recorded within 24 hours. All decisions will be recorded immediately by team managers and compliance with this requirement is monitored by the service delivery manager for Duty and Advice.
· In response to Recommendation C around the quality and independence of audits, the social care quality assurance framework has been reviewed with actions taken to strengthen the cross auditing of work across teams and the moderation of audits.
· The percentage of strategy discussions where all three partners have contributed had also increased since July 2021 from 45% to 71%, with work continuing to increase this further.
In response to questions and comments raised by Board Members, the following information was provided:
· Training – This will be focused and in-depth, with impact of this learning remaining under constant review by Advanced Practitioners and managers at all levels, including the Leadership Team. It will also be supported by a specific piece of quality assurance work that will review case files and will include survey feedback from social workers, team managers as well as from children and their families.
· Monitoring impact and outcomes – To help monitor overall progress of impact and outcomes, a rolling programme of audit and moderation is also underway. This includes monthly case files audits by team managers and service managers in addition to a suite of thematic audits.
· Multi-agency strategy discussions – Strategic discussions take place with all agencies including Health and the Police and there is usually a consensus after debate. It was acknowledged that Health is particularly complex and while there is no single point of contact, work is on-going to understand what some of the key barriers are and to look at more effective and efficient processes moving forward.
· Visit to the Front Door Service. The Chair acknowledged the intention for members of the Scrutiny Board to also undertake a visit to the Front Door Service, which is to be arranged over the coming weeks.
RESOLVED - That the Scrutiny Board notes the reported actions of the focused visit improvement plan.