Ofsted inspectors found that social work practice is improving, partnership working is good and that assessments, plans and reviews are evident ‘in the vast majority of children’s cases’. Where assessments aren’t in place, interim services are being offered and needs met.
The fifth Ofsted monitoring visit, took place between 10-11 January 2018 and cases examined were chosen before that date. Inspectors reviewed progress made in the area of help and protection, with a focus on three themes:
- the quality of plans, planning and social work intervention with children in need and their families
- the effectiveness of management oversight and decision making, and how well children in need plans are overseen and progressed by managers
- the quality of ‘edge of care work’ for children in need, along with decisions and plans to look after these children.
Ofsted found that social workers visit children regularly, offered good support and saw children on their own (which ensures their views, thought and feelings were listened to and heard). They said workers had made ‘stringent efforts to build trusting relationships with children and work with them to understand their experiences’.
The inspectors commented that the Trust and Slough Borough Council (which contracts SCST to deliver children’s services and is a joint ‘corporate parent’) showed commitment to improving services for children and had put in place some of the foundations necessary to deliver effective services for children in need.
However, they criticised the visibility of management oversight, which, they said, was not yet consistently evident and also commented on the overall pace of improvement.
‘In all, we’re very positive about the findings,’ said the Trust’s CEO Nicola Clemo. ‘It shows that measures we’ve put in place to step up the pace take time to implement and to evidence but we are getting there.
‘I’m confident that our management oversight improvements will be clearly demonstrable by the next visit and that by the time of our full 4-week Ofsted inspection later this year, all these elements will come together to show the vast improvement we’ve made to children’s services in Slough.
‘We’re very grateful for the feedback from these monitoring visits, which help to keep us on our upward trajectory. I’d like to personally thank all the staff at the Trust, who have been working tirelessly on our improvement journey,’ she added.
The full report can be seen on Ofsted’s website: www.ofsted.gov.uk. The direct link (look for 2 February 2018) is: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/local-authorities/slough