Issue - meetings

Child Protection Performance

Meeting: 16/03/2022 - Children & Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 6)

6 Child Protection Performance pdf icon PDF 414 KB

Additional documents:


Calvin Smith (Service Manager, Safeguarding & Support) introduced this item reporting on findings from the OFSTED inspection. These were a positive acknowledgement of endeavours to improve the County’s child in need & child protection services. However, the recent widely reported deaths of children provided a reminder of the need to seek ongoing improvement in services. Reference to the challenges from the Covid pandemic but the service had continued with staff visiting households throughout it, often the only professionals that were able to visit and supported all families not just the vulnerable.


Over the last four years, a series of themed audits had been undertaken aimed at improving the child protection performance and services. Other mechanisms were in place, including the Child Protection Escalation Panel to ensure a robust challenge to both the council and its partners. Audits were undertaken by key decision makers within Warwickshire’s child protection services. The audit process changed in the pandemic from a face-to-face, to a Microsoft Teams process. It was planned to return to the face-to-face process to enhance the action learning cycle. After each audit, the learning was shared in workshops with the teams who complete the child protection investigations and when appropriate, key partners. They provided a continuous cycle of improvement with key benefits being reported.


This process sought to improve the rates for key indicators reported annually in the Department for Education Child in Need return. The audits also aimed to monitor and improve factors impacting the experience families. Over the past four years child protection processes had become more robust and restorative. The learning from the OFSTED inspection would be adopted and the cycle of continuous improvement would be maintained.


Following a question from the Chair in relation to the retention of staff, it was confirmed that the professional life of a social worker is averagely seven and half years.  However, Warwickshire’s turnover of staff is currently not unacceptable.  For two years, there were no agency staff at Warwickshire County Council.  We are putting in place support for career pathways and aim to keep experienced staff in post.  In comparison with our statistical neighbours, we are doing well.  During their first year with the council there is a scheme in place to protect the workload along with additional training from the academy that has been set up, that newly qualified social workers must pass to move forward.  We will try and avoid giving child protection cases during the first year – they may co-work a case with another social worker.


Following a question from Councillor Brian Hammersley, Calvin Smith confirmed that if a child is at risk, the child protection process would be implemented but the assumption that parents are the problem was not always the case; so, child protection processes were not always the answer.  The team needs to be able to work with the parents, and other partners to protect the child.  Often, parents have done everything they possibly can to protect their child.  Recently social workers worked with the British  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6