Knowsley Council’s Children’s Social Care work and practice is continuing to improve, according to the latest diagnostic review.
The review, which mirrors an Ofsted inspection, has been carried out by Malcolm Newsam CBE – a nationally recognised specialist in this area of work and former Chair of the Knowsley Children’s Services Improvement Board.
The assessment was instigated by the Council to assess the ongoing effectiveness of its improvement work. It highlighted a number of areas of good practice and concluded that “Knowsley Council has continued to make sustained progress since the Ofsted inspection in March 2017.”
Malcolm Newsam CBE commented “The progress being made in Knowsley continues to impress me. The overall approach and commitment to improving Children’s Social Care services is commendable and has enabled the council to make the changes and progress needed in this important area of work.”
The review concluded that overall leadership by the Council and Safeguarding Board was both strong and visible, which contributed to a culture of transparency and openness. Councillors’ continued financial investment into Children’s Social Care, despite the challenging budget pressures, was also recognised as helping to ensure a positive momentum could be maintained, as had the consistent overview from the Chief Executive.
The review found the workforce to be motivated and skilled and particularly highlighted its stability, with the service confirming no agency staff had been used for more than 12 months.
In terms of social work practice the assessment found that the quality of work was “impressive” and there was a clear focus on the child and a strong emphasis on their ‘voice’ being listened to and their views being considered as part of their care planning and management.
The findings of the diagnostic echoed the Council’s own assessment of where further improvements need to be made particularly in raising educational outcomes for looked after children and in planning for children in need.
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services commented “The findings of this latest review make for positive reading and certainly confirm our improvement journey continues to make the progress necessary. We will now use the learning from this assessment to further enhance our efforts, target areas for further improvement and drive forward with this crucially important work to safeguard the vulnerable in our community.”