By Sammie Jones-
Social workers in East Sussex children’s services have been praised by Ofsted for providing an excellent service to children in need.
Ofsted inspectors commended them for setting exceptionally high standards for brilliant services that support children in need of help. Social workers in this East Sussex were found to have benefited from regular supervision, bringing out the best from them in the process . Managers proved to be professionally competent, ensuring caseloads were maintained at a level that allow practitioners to build trusting relationships with children and visit those who live outside the region.
In the small number of cases where workloads were above the council’s recommended level, “senior managers demonstrated detailed knowledge about these caseloads and were already taking steps to reduce them”, Ofsted inspectors noted.
Children’s services in East Sussex were judged to be outstanding overall- a refreshing change from some of the damning reports about other children’s services in various local councils around the Uk . Leaders and managers were shown to ave successfully established a culture in which talented social workers happily remained in the profession, creating an environment in which effective social work flourishes. The social care workforce was said to be impressively stable and resilient at all levels and in all teams.
The East Sussex model of ‘connected practice’ has been comprehensively rolled out and is ”fully embedded, resulting in helpful, enduring and trusting relationships between practitioners, children and their families, sometimes over many years.,’ Ofsted said. Examples of creative and purposeful direct work with children are widespread, and this work leads to substantial improvements in children’s lives, according to Ofsted.
Ofsted praised the local authority for its strong, dynamic learning organisation that encourages self-reflection at all levels. Political leaders were found to firmly hold senior managers to account for the quality of practice and performance through highly effective strategic arrangements and direct involvement in practice audits. The well-established and regularly refreshed quality assurance framework was praised for its efefctive monitoring and continually improving social work practice.
East Sussex children’s services had maintained its previously high standards since the last inspection in 2014, when the overall effectiveness of services for children was judged to be good.
”The highly committed senior and political leadership team has sustained determined and detailed oversight of practice. Leaders and managers work creatively and persistently with partners to respond to emerging and changing need. Investment in well-regarded and nationally recognised projects and initiatives was based on an all round understanding of the strengths and weaknesses at work in the system. The report is one of the most complimentary given by Ofsted and sets a standard for other councils to follow.