Ofsted finds positive improvement during inspection of Children’s Services

Vulnerable children in Somerset are receiving an improving service with confident staff making good decisions, a report from the regulator Ofsted has concluded.

Ofsted inspectors carried out a snap inspection of Somerset County Council’s early help and social work teams to assess how cases were dealt with in the community.

Inspectors found good practice and improvement and praised the following:

  • Appropriate and timely action is taken when children need immediate protection, including outside of normal office hours.
  • Teams of workers with a range of skills, including youth work and counselling, are used to give families a quick and meaningful response in times of crisis, as a result, children who would otherwise have been taken into care have remained safely at home with their families.
  • Social workers and early help practitioners feel well supported and receive supervision that they value.
  • There are good opportunities for professional development within the organisation and newly qualified social workers have appropriate caseloads.

No priority actions were identified. Only four areas of practice were identified by Inspectors to require improvement.

These are:

  • Ensuring the child’s lived experience is routinely captured to inform decision-making.
  • Being clear with families in all cases about the focus and time taken for assessments.
  • Ensuring consistency of practice across all the teams in Somerset
  • Improving the working with perpetrators of domestic abuse in families.

“I’m pleased that Ofsted have found we are continuing to improve, and that inspectors recognise and are largely supportive of the hard work and effort put in by our staff,” said Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services.

“We know we are on a journey and we take the inspector’s report very seriously. Plans are in place to address areas for improvement and discussions are planned with Public Health in relation to improving the work with perpetrators of domestic abuse in families.”

Submitted by Communications