Consistently strong decision-making helping families get the right help first time

Ofsted has praised Norfolk’s handing of child safeguarding calls and referrals, after a two day visit to the County Council.

The inspectorate carried out a focused visit looking at how the council responds to calls about the welfare of children and young people – the so called “front door”.

Ofsted said that the front door had been “transformed” since their last visit in November 2017 and that information sharing, analysis and recording had significantly improved.  The quality of decision making was “consistently strong” and there had been a reduction in inappropriate referrals and assessments.  Inspectors said that the level of improvement achieved “provided tangible evidence of the impact of senior leaders on social work practice at the front door.”

Inspectors also found that the front door response to domestic abuse is well developed and increasingly effective, and said the multi-agency child exploitation and missing team is “equally effective”.

Ofsted said there was more work to do when cases leave the front door, with the timeliness and quality of assessments identified as an area for further work, largely because of continuing recruitment challenges.

Cllr John Fisher, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “Ofsted has recognised the brilliant work of our children’s advice and duty service and how we have transformed how we take calls and respond to concerns about children and young people.

“This success is down to the huge commitment of our staff and partners in the police and health services – we are working together more effectively than ever before and this is helping to ensure families do not receive unnecessary social work assessments.

“We’re now changing how our frontline teams work, so that social workers can spend more time with children and young people.  As a council we’re absolutely committed to getting the right support to families, which is why we’re investing in recruiting more staff and further transforming how we work.”