Greater support and improved lives for children and young people are the aims behind a new 15-step action plan agreed by BCP Council.
The detailed plan sets out the improvement work to be delivered by Children’s Services over the next three months, following the publication of a critical report by Ofsted in November.
Key actions include: leadership changes; an urgent independent review of 60 of the most complex cases in Early Help services; the introduction of an improved performance management system for staff supervision; training; service transformation; new targets for SEND (special educational needs and disability) recruitment and staff retention initiatives; and better processes for children who are subject to care proceedings.
Councillor Mike White, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “Providing the services our young people deserve is absolutely our top priority. The urgency and attention being given to the action plan reflects this. We have already delivered on a number of actions including new leadership roles, and we are completely committed to achieving the rest before the end of March.
“The work has seven key strands to it, all aimed to make our systems stronger and to ensure our approach is always centred around the child. That way we can bring about the necessary improvements to supporting our most vulnerable children and young people.”
The council and its senior leadership team have fully accepted the findings of the Ofsted report, and provided significant financial help towards the cost of overcoming the failings.
Elaine Redding, Corporate Director for Children’s Services, said: “We know we have to improve rapidly if our services to local children and families are to meet the standards expected of us. We are working extremely hard to ensure we have a service fit for purpose to ensure brighter futures for all our young people.”
The council is working closely with the Department for Education to bring about the needed improvements within the service. The action plan will be subject to continuous review to ensure that progress is being made.
Recognising that frontline staff and those being supported by children’s services are often best-placed to identify and implement improvements, social work staff and service users are being involved in the delivery and improvement to services through regular engagement sessions.