CHILDRENS Services in Tameside have stepped up the pace of improvement, according to Ofsted inspectors.
Ofsted’s most recent visit, in April 2018, focussed on Early Help - including work with early help partners and the quality of performance management.
Inspectors were positive about the strategic leadership in their monitoring visit letter, which they said has “accelerated the pace of change” in the last six months, leading to “improved outcomes” for children and families.
They said the service had an accurate understanding of itself, the challenges it faces and what it needs to do to improve further.
The letter highlighted that managers and early help workers demonstrate energy and commitment and team stability is improved.
Inspectors said early help workers had a clear understanding of their work and they speak with authority about the children and families they work with. However the quality of practice was found to be inconsistent and the quality of early help assessments and plans are not consistently good.
They found evidence of good quality direct work with children and good quality intensive work with families to effect rapid change, enabling them to improve their lives. But they said the voice of the child is not always recorded well within casework.
The letter said the arrangements for the transfer of children’s cases between social care and early help are working better. Thresholds are appropriately applied and that interventions meet children and families’ needs. Pathways to secure early help services are clearer and children and families are swiftly signposted to appropriate support.
Inspectors found increased engagement from partners but commented that the early help agenda is not yet fully owned by partners. However they also noted that there were initiatives in place - such as Common Assessment Framework advisors - which were having a positive impact on partner agencies’ understanding of and commitment to the early help offer. They said this put the service in a strong position for further collaboration, which would benefit children and families.
Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “We really welcome this letter, which recognises the steps we have put in place to further drive improvement. It’s fantastic news that this is already improving the outcomes for children and families. However we know there remains significant work to do to ensure that every child and family receives the right support at the right time in Tameside and we remain unwavering in our commitment to deliver the improvement needed to make this happen and we will continue to work closely with our partners to achieve this.”
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