32 min

Dudley council: 'There's a sweepstake for how long before I mention restorative practice‪'‬ The Ofsted Interview

    • Education

Martin Samuels, strategic director of people at Dudley council, and Sue Butcher, chief officer for children's services, talks to Community Care about the ‘requires improvement’ judgment the service recently received from Ofsted.

Ofsted praised the 'significant' improvements made at the service since its previous inspection, with a particular nod to developments in services for children in care and care leavers, and improvements to its MASH service. But challenges were said to remain, particularly in the stability of the workforce.

Samuels and Butcher discuss the council's Centre for Professional Practice initiative, its dedication to restorative practice, how the children in care and care leavers services have improved, with the help of independent reviewing officer oversight, and how it approaching the issue of workforce stability by moving away from the mindset of seeing a high proportion agency staff as "a problem".

The full list of questions, posed by Community Care's associate editor Sarah Dennis is:

How aligned did you feel that the council’s self-assessment of performance was with Ofsted’s findings?

What are the particular highlights in the progress made by the council since its previous inspection and how has this been achieved and recognised?

What do you see as the particular strengths of the MASH and how were these achieved, particularly in relation to what Ofsted terms the timely decision making and well understood thresholds? How will this be transferred to the assessment teams in terms of process?

Can you tell us more about the graded care profile tool and how the council is further working to embed this?

How has the service for children in care and care leavers been turned around – what are the strengths now, and what is there still to work on?

How is the council seeking to stabilise the workforce and what does the council recognise as the impact of what Ofsted terms high staff turnover? What is the current rate of turnover at the council among its social workers?

Can you tell us more about what Ofsted termed the strengthened structure for children’s service – including the Centre for Professional Practice, and what this has achieved?

What is the council doing to assess and improve supervision of social workers, particularly at the first-line manager level?

And finally, what is the next stage in Dudley’s journey?

Martin Samuels, strategic director of people at Dudley council, and Sue Butcher, chief officer for children's services, talks to Community Care about the ‘requires improvement’ judgment the service recently received from Ofsted.

Ofsted praised the 'significant' improvements made at the service since its previous inspection, with a particular nod to developments in services for children in care and care leavers, and improvements to its MASH service. But challenges were said to remain, particularly in the stability of the workforce.

Samuels and Butcher discuss the council's Centre for Professional Practice initiative, its dedication to restorative practice, how the children in care and care leavers services have improved, with the help of independent reviewing officer oversight, and how it approaching the issue of workforce stability by moving away from the mindset of seeing a high proportion agency staff as "a problem".

The full list of questions, posed by Community Care's associate editor Sarah Dennis is:

How aligned did you feel that the council’s self-assessment of performance was with Ofsted’s findings?

What are the particular highlights in the progress made by the council since its previous inspection and how has this been achieved and recognised?

What do you see as the particular strengths of the MASH and how were these achieved, particularly in relation to what Ofsted terms the timely decision making and well understood thresholds? How will this be transferred to the assessment teams in terms of process?

Can you tell us more about the graded care profile tool and how the council is further working to embed this?

How has the service for children in care and care leavers been turned around – what are the strengths now, and what is there still to work on?

How is the council seeking to stabilise the workforce and what does the council recognise as the impact of what Ofsted terms high staff turnover? What is the current rate of turnover at the council among its social workers?

Can you tell us more about what Ofsted termed the strengthened structure for children’s service – including the Centre for Professional Practice, and what this has achieved?

What is the council doing to assess and improve supervision of social workers, particularly at the first-line manager level?

And finally, what is the next stage in Dudley’s journey?

32 min

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