This report provides a progress update on children’s improvement activity with specific reference to progress made against the Children’s Improvement Plan, developed in response to the Ofsted report following the inspection in July 2019, when the service was graded Inadequate. Three Ofsted Monitoring Visits have taken place in May 2020, July 2021 and January 2022
The Assistant Director Children’s Social Care introduced the report which provided a progress update on children’s improvement activity with specific reference to progress made against the Children’s Improvement Plan.
Members raised several questions and comments which included:
Members praised the positive progress that had been made by the service as evidenced in the Ofsted letter that was published on 1 March 2022 and all staff were thanked for their hard work, commitment, and dedication to improving outcomes for children, young people, and families of Medway. It was important for staff to recognise and celebrate their success.
The officer added that there was significant investment in the principle social work team, with investment on the development of staff by exploring ways to best support officers currently in post.
The recruitment market for social work posts remained significantly challenging despite investment and appropriate renumeration. There needed to be a stronger National drive by the Department for Education to tackle nationwide problems with recruitment of social workers.
In response to a question of clarification about the six month review process, the officer stated that this was an independent review of a child’s plan which took place with the child’s family and explored permanence outcomes. According to the inspectors, this could be done better by exploring outcome at the outset of the child’s plan. This comment had been taken on board alongside all the other comments and what could be done better to improve the service.
The Director of People, Children and Adults informed the Committee that the next Ofsted visit would take place in May 2022 and the focus of that visit would be on care leavers. Medway should expect its Inspecting Local Authority Children’s Service (Ilacs)’s inspection might take place by spring 2023.
The Committee was thanked for their input, comments, and feedback as part of the Improvement Journey.
The Committee noted the report.