Agenda item

Children's Services Development Plan (Ofsted actions)

Report of the Director of Children’s Services



The Board considered a briefing note of the Director of Children’s Services regarding Children’s Services Ofsted Areas for Development Action Plan Progress.


Children’s Services were re-inspected by Ofsted from 13 June – 1 July 2022.  The report was published on 12 August 2022 and the overall judgement for Children’s Services in Coventry was ‘Good’.


The Ofsted inspection report identified 4 areas for further development:


·  The focus on children’s views and carers capacity to meet children’s needs in private fostering arrangements

·  The response to children aged 16 and 17 who are homeless

·  The mental and emotional wellbeing provision for care leavers

·  The quality of team managers supervision provided to social workers


A Children’s Services Areas for Development Action Plan had been developed in response to the Ofsted recommendations and areas for development and submitted to Ofsted on 18 November 2023.


Progress against the Children’s Services Areas for Development Action Plan was as follows:


Recommendation 1 – the focus on children’s views and carers capacity to meet children’s needs in private fostering arrangements.


A Private Fostering Action Plan was developed and provided to Ofsted.  Progress against actions was monitored monthly.


Two Lead IRO roles had been identified for children who were privately fostered to provide quality assurance around their care arrangements and ensure that their voices and wishes were heard and considered.  As the Private Fostered children were allocated to an IRO, a system was in place to raise any significant concerns in advance.


Recommendation 2 – the response to children aged 16 and 17 who are homeless.


A quality assurance process was undertaken to review and improve the response and practice for 16/17 year olds presenting as homeless.  The process had been incorporated into the Children’s Services Quality Assurance Framework to monitor on a regular basis.


A Youth Hub in the city for young homeless people had been developed to provide a welcoming safe accessible environment to access support, information and guidance.  The project would go live in April 2023.


Recommendation 3 – the mental and emotional wellbeing provision for care leavers


An initial review of LAC CAMHS service had been undertaken to identify what worked and any gaps in service.  The service had been redesigned and would be recommissioned by April 2023.


The funding pathway CAMHS service development for 18-25 years had been identified.


The Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Support service for up to 25 year old care leavers tender for Tier 2 had been awarded and went live in December 2022.


A pilot called ‘Ask Jan’ (a 24/7 telephone counselling and support service for care leavers) was undertaken, with a cohort of care leavers to assess impact and effectiveness which was progressing forward and would be evaluated.


Recommendation 4 – the quality of team managers supervision provided to social workers


Managers had completed a dip sampling exercise of supervision records.  This information was being collated and analysed with findings to report tracking distance travelled and was completed in February 2023.


A range of leadership programmes had been offered to Managers including a bespoke Black Asian Leadership programme, planned for spring 2023.


The recording guidance relating to supervision and management oversight which enabled managers to capture reflective supervision in recording and drive progress in children’s plans through supervision was being embedded within the service in line with Coventry Family Valued.


A range of focus groups were held in February to help managers see how they could support sustainability and embedding of the ‘method and mindset model’.


The progress against the Areas for Development Action Plan would be monitored on a quarterly basis.


The Members asked questions and received responses on a number of matters including:


·  An outstanding result could be achieved by delivering on the 4 areas outlined as recommendations in the Action Plan and also on the following:

o  Stabilise the workforce, recruit social workers and minimise end of use agency staff

o  Strengthen performance measures post Inspection

o  Delivery the family valued programme

o  Deliver the Ofsted Action Plan

o  Develop an extra mile offer

o  Continue to deliver an accurate self-assessment

o  Finalise the Strategic Plan, stretch targets and aspirations

o  Strengthen the impact of interventions

·  Staffing recruitment and retention was challenging, particularly recruitment of experienced social workers.

·  A Memorandum of Understanding was in place which did not allow social workers who moved to work for an agency, to then work for a Local Authority for at least a 6 month period.

·  An increase in demand for staffing continued due to the increase in cases.

·  Staff wellbeing weeks to increase motivation, mindset and welfare had been and would continue to be rolled out.

·  The design of a multi-agency social worker team to provide a wrap-around service for families was not currently possible due to lack of funding

·  The fostering team were proactive in matching children with families according to risk and need, including culture, ethnicity, community, religion and faith.

·  The Social Worker Academy had made good progress to encourage social workers with ethnic and minority backgrounds.  Universities had taken positive action to recruit from minority and ethnic groups and there had been significant interest from abroad.

·  87% of social workers were female.

·  Private fostering was publicised each year by law. Communication material could be found in GP surgeries and schools.


In response to the questions, officers undertook to circulate the following information to the Board:


·  The staff wellbeing programme.

·  The breakdown of ethnic minority children known to Children’s Services at the time of the Ofsted Inspection and the diversity and ethnicity of social workers.

·  Communication materials regarding private fostering.


Officers agreed to provide help and assistance with the paperwork for ethnic minority fosterers on a case-by-case basis.


The Board thanked the Cabinet Member and officers for their work on the Children’s Services Development Plan.


RESOLVED that the Education and Children’s Scrutiny Board (2)


  1. Notes the progress against the Ofsted recommendations highlighted in the Ofsted Areas for Development Action Plan.


  1. Includes Fostering and the Family Values Project (including the Reunification Project) on the Work Programme for 2023/24.



Supporting documents: