Venue: Virtual Meeting - Web ex meeting. View directions
Declarations of interest
Please see note (a) at the end of agenda.
Councillor Andrew Miller declared he was in the process of applying to become a foster carer for the Authority.
Councillor Beki Hoyland declared she was a mentor for ‘Breathe’.
Councillor Nick Housden declared he was a Director of Bridge Youth Services.
The Committee is asked to discuss the Ofsted Outcome Report and suggest areas to inform the Committee’s work plan.
Please find a link below to the short video:
The Director of Children’s Services (DCS) presented the report and continued to explain the inspection process in detail. Ofsted Inspector’s had recognised the preparation and commended Officers on the production of requested information within twelve hours of the initial request. The DCS recognised the Authority still had work to do to achieve a good rating.
Members were advised that the service was a whisker away from achieving good for leadership and management of its social work practice and staff should be congratulated on their efforts. The Committee felt if the Inspection had taken place last summer, when the number of vacancies was at a low, and the service was more stable, the situation could have been even more positive. However, in the current climate there were a greater percentage of agency staff due to the market conditions which has slowed the rate of improvement a little.
The DCS recognised the Authority had come a considerable way since the initial report in 2017, he remarked that the situation was more dire than initially reported as the service had been allowed to drift for some time following the last inspection. In order to overcome these difficulties when the DCS was appointed in 2018, he had invested in a strong leadership team who had a collective approach to improve children services. A long and difficult journey had been embarked upon, which had been further compounded by the pandemic.
It was noted the Inspection Team felt significant progress had been made and this was acknowledged within their report, most importantly they recognised that children in Gloucestershire were no longer at risk of harm.
Members were advised that based on the report, Ofsted believed the Authority knew it strengths and weaknesses and recognised plans were in place to overcome the weaknesses. In an effort to overcome the challenges a clear model of practice was evolving.
In terms of what areas needed further improvement, members noted that the quality of accommodation for young people was an area of concern. The DCS felt the accommodation should be suitable for our own children and the same standards should be applied for a young person in care.
The Committee were informed that due to the legacy of poor practice in the past older Children and young people in the system had received a poor service which has implications for current challenges which young people are facing. Officer’s recognised there were some improvements to be made to the Care Leavers Service.
The DCS explained one of the main issues faced by frontline staff was the aged IT infrastructure and proves to be a constant source of frustration as work was often lost due to system issues and had to be inputted all over again.
Members were pleased to note that Ofsted complimented the Social Workers and the practices used were regarded as a positive trajectory. As such, staff now felt more positive to work for Gloucestershire County Council as there were opportunities for career progression.
In essence, members felt the ... view the full minutes text for item 18.