Black Country news and blogs Friday 22 March 2019
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Community Care

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Weak leadership exposes social care to worst green paper risks 

19 Sep 18

By Colin Slasberg and Peter Beresford The Local Government Association’s (LGA) contribution to the impending social care green paper, due to be published this autumn, shows how far the sector’s leadership falls short of securing the confidence of…

Ofsted criticises ‘opaque’ language that families don’t understand in child protection plans 

11 Sep 18

Ofsted inspectors have criticised the impact of “complicated” and “opaque” language used in child protection conferences and plans as being “difficult for some parents and older children to understand” at Birmingham Children’s Trust.

Serious case review criticises ‘overwhelmed’ social workers’ record-keeping 

11 Sep 18

Social workers at a struggling West Midlands council felt “overwhelmed” by their caseloads and failed to keep proper records, a serious case review into a life-changing head injury sustained by an infant has found.

Families of four or five were living in one room: how social work and the housing crisis intersect 

10 Sep 18

by Daniel Sillman I first witnessed the reality of the housing crisis as a student on my first placement in an inner-city London borough.

‘All we’ve done is tick a box’: the problems getting children in care mental health support 

28 Aug 18

by David Jones A recent report by the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP) has highlighted chronic inadequacies within the NHS in addressing the mental health issues of children and young people, labelling the situation a “silent catastrophe…

Is the current definition of child on parent violence appropriate? 

21 Aug 18

by Al Coates Earlier this year Dr Wendy Thorley and I asked parents and carers who were experiencing challenging, violent and aggressive behaviour from their children to complete the 2018 Child on Parent Violence and Aggression Survey .

How to find your perfect role in care 

15 Aug 18

Your personality may hold the key to a happier work life If you’ve ever wondered why you struggle with certain aspects of your job, but find others effortless, our personality quiz could be the answer .

Council ordered to set up arms-length children’s services company in wake of Ofsted monitoring visit 

13 Aug 18

The Department for Education (DfE) has ordered an ‘inadequate’-rated local authority to set up an arms-length company to deliver children’s services after an Ofsted monitoring visit found improvements were proceeding, albeit inconsistently.

Purposeful investment in a learning culture: one children’s services journey to ‘good’ 

8 Aug 18

A local authority that has “significantly improved” its services to children has been praised by Ofsted for its determination to “strive for improvement and an openness to learning”.

‘The systemic approach triggered a change in our culture of supervision’ 

6 Aug 18

Somerset County Council is currently seeking experienced children’s social workers to join a service that believes in openness and collaboration.

£6.6 million agency staff overspend ‘hugely detrimental’ to council’s children’s services 

30 Jul 18

A London borough has become the latest local authority to raise alarms around the impact children’s services spending is having on its financial sustainability.

Delayed restructure will address ‘excessively high’ social worker caseloads, council says 

27 Jul 18

Managers at a cash-strapped West Midlands local authority have told Ofsted that a delayed children’s services restructure should alleviate problems identified in a recent focused visit.

Children’s trust defends chief executive appointment for social worker criticised by judge 

19 Jul 18

A children’s services trust has defended the appointment of its new chief executive, a social worker whose practice was criticised by a judge but cleared by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and her former employer.

Why practice leadership needs to be closer to the hard realities of social work practice 

2 Jul 18

by Tony Stanley The recent Care Crisis Review  called for more inclusive social work practice and a far less adversarial approach by workers, with proportionate involvement and respectful relationships being at the heart of good practice.

How this adult social care service’s open culture supports brave social work 

18 Jun 18

Want to be part of Gloucestershire County Council’s open and supportive adult social care service? Find out more about joining a service that helps you make the brave decisions that transform lives for the better.

Monitoring visit finds uneven progress being made at children’s trust 

15 Jun 18

Ofsted has given children’s social care in Birmingham a mixed bill of health following its latest monitoring visit, noting “progress” in some areas but warning of a “lack of focus” in others.

Social workers honoured on Queen’s birthday list 

12 Jun 18

This year’s Queen’s birthday honours list has recognised a number of social workers and managers, and others involved in social care, for their services to the sector.

The original social work Try Before You Apply day returns 

11 Jun 18

To find out more and secure your place on Somerset’s ‘Try Before You Apply’ day phone Claire Nuttall on 07855 287 139 or email CNuttall@Somerset.

Where councils are going wrong in their implementation of the Care Act 

8 Jun 18

By Belinda Schwehr CASCAIDr (Centre for Adults’ Social Care – Advice, Information and Dispute Resolution) has been open for five months now as a legal advice charity.

‘As poverty has become more about individuals, child protection has become more authoritarian’ 

4 Jun 18

by Simon Haworth Poverty is an increasingly dominant context for social work in times of austerity.

As a social worker, should I keep sharing personal stories with the families I am working with? 

23 May 18

by Andrew Matthews As part of a learning day for my course to become a practice educator we were required to speak with students about experiences and challenges around boundaries.

Frontline social work training costs ‘excellent value for money’, minister told 

17 May 18

A group of directors of children’s services has told the children’s minister that the “quality of practice skill exhibited by Frontline participants” represents “excellent value for money” after the model was challenged by groups earlier …

‘You’re doing social work like you would anywhere else; but you’re doing it in a way that allows innovation’ 

16 May 18

Since its launch in 2014, Achieving for Children (AfC) has increased the number of local authorities in its umbrella by one third.

Government orders ‘inadequate’ council to cooperate with ‘peer support’ programme from other London borough 

11 May 18

The Department for Education (DfE) has ordered an inadequate-rated council to comply with a two-year ‘peer support’ programme from a fellow London borough as it seeks to get its children’s services back on track.

Why you should start your social work career in Oxfordshire 

30 Apr 18

Get your social work career off to the very best start by applying to join Oxfordshire’s assessed and supported year in employment programme (ASYE) .

Why are more social work assessments leading to no further action? 

26 Apr 18

by Katherine Purvis Children’s social workers are assessing more referrals that lead to no further action due to cuts to early prevention services and a lack of understanding around thresholds, experts say.

From a pub to social work: how a chance encounter led a principal social worker into the profession 

5 Apr 18

By Lauren Brown On the face of it, Adam Birchall’s route into social work wasn’t too uncommon.

Children’s outcomes “not maximised” despite improvement to ’inadequate’ service, Ofsted finds 

4 Apr 18

By Lauren Brown Ofsted inspectors have found progress in an ‘inadequate’ children’s services but expressed ongoing concerns about children’s outcomes.

Parents should be supported to rehabilitate with their children – not without them 

3 Apr 18

by Jadwiga Leigh and Lisa Warwick Adults who find they are struggling to parent often come from disadvantaged backgrounds and find themselves in situations where they face a number of different social, emotional, environmental and health related …

Artificial intelligence in children’s services: the ethical and practical issues 

29 Mar 18

by Emily Keddell and Tony Stanley Predictive algorithms promoted and used by Hackney council to identify those most in need of scarce preventive services is an important issue for us to think more deeply about .

Oftsed criticises council where some social workers hadn’t had supervision for ‘months’ 

26 Mar 18

Social workers have high caseloads, are working on evenings and weekends and in some case haven’t had supervision for “months”, an Ofsted inspection of Wakefield children’s services has found.

NHS commissioners face court action over cost-capping continuing healthcare policies 

23 Mar 18

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has threatened legal action against 13 clinical commissioning groups on the grounds that their continuing healthcare policies breach equality and human rights law and risk forcing people into care homes.

Hunt hints at ‘Ofsted-style ratings’ for adult social care services 

21 Mar 18

Local authorities may be rated on the quality of their adult social care services to address variations in performance, Jeremy Hunt has suggested.

From India to Birmingham: A social worker keeping rights at the heart of her practice across continents 

20 Mar 18

Vidhya Biju, winner of the 2017 overall social worker of the year , is passionate about the service users she helps, and adamant that direct interaction with service users is the priority.

Ofsted praises social workers with legislative ‘expertise’ 

12 Mar 18

Social workers have been praised for work with care leavers and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) in an improving local authority.

Troubled council says grant released to help pay for adult social care will have ‘little impact’ 

2 Mar 18

By Katherine Purvis Northamptonshire Adult Social Services (NASS) has said the release of £1.7 million from earmarked reserves to help pay for adult social care will have “little impact given the size of our challenge” .

Number of councils using Family Drug and Alcohol Courts to expand 

28 Feb 18

A different approach to care proceedings linked with more family reunifications and positive outcomes will be expanded across London The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), first launched in 2008 and now with courts across the country, will be …

Protecting yourself against compassion fatigue: key tips 

26 Feb 18

This article comprises of tips taken from a guide on Community Care Inform Children about burnout, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue, written by social worker Lori Goosen.

Seven steps towards a more anti-oppressive social work approach to care proceedings 

19 Feb 18

by Simon Haworth Following on from my previous article on social work and social harm, I wish to reflect upon potential ways forward for practice within the court arena to become more strengths-based, anti-oppressive and family focussed.

Average social worker caseloads: the highest and the lowest 

15 Feb 18

With the latest government statistics reporting an average caseload per child and family social worker of 17.8 nationally, Community Care wanted to see which local authorities were reporting higher or lower than ‘average’ caseloads down across …

‘When care proceedings concluded and children were removed, I felt only sadness’ 

14 Feb 18

by Simon Howarth I left the frontline four months ago, and the recent adoption enquiry has prompted me to reflect on the moral and ethical struggles I consistently felt as a court-based social worker.

Why policy on contact with children and birth families needs a rethink 

13 Feb 18

by Brigid Featherstone, Robin Sen and Anna Gupta.

Feeling ‘social worked’: how can we better incorporate service user voices into children’s services? 

1 Feb 18

by Tony Stanley Andy Couldrick Social work is in the business of helping.

How to comply with court rulings on section 20 

31 Jan 18

This article was first published in 2016 and last updated in January 2018.

Senior leadership: humility, transparency and knowing when to step back 

31 Jan 18

A transparent culture, openness to peer review and increasing accountability were all ingredients to the senior leadership team at Rotherham children’s services turning around its services for children.

Then and now: how a council turned around its children’s services in three years 

31 Jan 18

In its latest inspection of Rotherham council’s children’s services, Ofsted consistently commended the local authority for significant improvements and ‘transformed’ services.

Using social media in social work assessments: what the evidence tells us 

31 Jan 18

By Jenny Simpson The recent serious case review involving Wolverhampton children’s services and the death of a child by the mother’s violent partner has once again highlighted the perennial problem of a range of practitioners failing to work …

Services for children in Rotherham ‘transformed’ following ‘valuing frontline managers and staff’ 

29 Jan 18

by Luke Stevenson and Sarah Dennis Ofsted inspectors have praised the transformation of children’s services in Rotherham, which it says are now ‘good’ with an element of ‘outstanding’.

Child protection plans are ending too early, Ofsted warns Birmingham 

22 Jan 18

Birmingham children’s services is improving but “significant concerns” remain about children being left at risk due to child protection plans ending too early, Ofsted reports.

Social work ethics ‘not routinely used’ to inform adoption practice, enquiry suggests 

19 Jan 18

An enquiry into the social worker role in adoption has said the profession is not routinely using ethics to inform practice.

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