A “Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water” Update!!!!!

 ………..We are now going into the fourth day of the OfSTED Inspection of our Child Protection and Early Help arrangements. I thought I’d give you all a brief update and let you know what they’ve looked at so far. Most of you will not have had direct contact with OfSTED – and even those who have won’t necessarily know about the other areas they’ve explored so I thought it might help to keep everyone up to speed.

They have visited MASH looking at how that works. They are aware it’s a relatively recent development in Sutton but they spent time talking to managers and staff there, looking at processes and how they’re working so far, and looking through some cases. They have also been to some front line social care teams, again tracking cases and talking to those in the teams. As you’d expect they’ve made a number of queries about cases, processes, documentation and systems every day and we’ve responded to these as and when they’ve arisen.

Yesterday I had some time with them looking at our Early Help offer, what it consists of, the processes we use for referrals and assessments to those interventions, how the Children and Young People’s Resource Panel works and the progress in embedding the effective use of CAF’s in Sutton. They were interested to look in particular at the detail of how the panel operates, how we manage risk, and all aspects of using CAF’s. I don’t have feedback as such but I thought it covered all the areas we’d expected and that we have a good idea of our strengths and our areas for development.

In Sutton Family Centre they looked at cases and supervision arrangements and discussed these with both managers and some of the staff. They also met with a number of service managers across CYPLD yesterday, including Jackie and Claudette and that seems to have been a positive and focused dialogue.

Among a number of things, they’ll be going on to look at how the LSCB is improving, how effective our performance management arrangements are, how we deal with Children Missing Education, our Elective Home Education monitoring for safeguarding purposes, talking to a group of designated teachers for Safeguarding from a sample of schools and they’ll be visiting at least two of our Children’s Centres to talk to staff and to families using services.

I’ll try and do a further update tomorrow before the end of the day so you know what stage we’ve reached at the end of the first week and what they’ll be looking at from Monday.

And Finally………..

………………By nature I’m fairly relaxed so I tend not to get stressed by things like OfSTED – I wouldn’t say I love it (!!), but whether in schools or LA Inspections, I’ve always found it makes me reflect and it’s always challenging. But I like that challenge and responding to it. Nevertheless it’s always there in the back of my mind while the inspection is going on and I guess that’s true of most of us. So I noticed the change in my mood as I arrived at the Grove this morning. It might not be the most practical place I’ve ever worked but it’s definitely the most beautiful! Early morning sunshine, the remains of the early morning mist on the ponds, sunlight filtering through the tress and dappling on the water in the streams and the squirrels greeting me as usual (they eat about 50% of my morning croissant every day!). It made me feel quite chilled and relaxed – then I got to my desk, opened up Outlook to a plethora of e-mails and task reminders, and then finished that off by recalling that my family have got me on a diet and it’s more berries and grass for lunch – can’t wait! I’m now not quite so chilled and I think I’ll go back out and see if I can get my illicit croissant bits back from those squirrels!

And Finally And Finally…..

………My thanks to those of you who have already been involved providing information to me and to OfSTED, talking to Inspectors and discussing cases with them. I appreciate the support and willingness to contribute that you’ve all shown.

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