This chapter was added to the manual in April 2017.
A commitment to embedding practice standards will play a vital role in making Lancashire County Council a child friendly community where children feel safe, where joint working to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable children, will improve, and where compliance is evidenced.
At the heart of this document is a new, restorative philosophy that seeks to work with children, young people and families, building on their strengths to better manage the risks and challenges they face.
Standards are the rules that describe the (minimum) service or practice that can be expected by the service user. Most of them are legally set through government legislation and guidance, or are based on evidence based research. They are mandatory for all workers.
STANDARD: General management
Managers will ensure that all responsibilities for children and young people for whom the Local Authority has a responsibility, will be carried out in line with the standards set out in this section and the rest of the practice standards manual. Managers will monitor compliance to ensure that children and young people are protected, receive appropriate services and achieve.
Managers will ensure all recording and reports are of good quality and are completed in a timely manner.
Managers will ensure that thorough enquiries are undertaken that produce good quality assessments and analysis of needs, leading to well-reasoned and evidenced recommendations for actions to be taken.
Managers will aim to observe and give constructive feedback to social workers on an annual basis.
STANDARD: Service Culture and Support
All managers will lead their staff group and ensure that staff work in a professional environment that is conducive to delivering good professional practice. This includes having a staff culture that brings support, constructive challenge and professional rigour to daily practice.
3. Statement of Assurance
We want children, young people and their families to receive the right support, at the right time delivered in the right way.
We understand that in order for this to happen social work staff need access to the following:
- Good levels of support including the time for reflective supervision;
- Training appropriate to needs and role;
- A caseload that is regularly reviewed and tailored to experience and above all manageable to support the delivery of safe and effective practice;
- Management support and time, from managers who are visible and prioritise the observation of front line practice.
The DCS plays a fundamental role in ensuring the above is in place and will provide regular evidence via the Quarterly Safeguarding Reports presented to the Leader, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools and the Chief Executive.
It is recognised and agreed that the national recommended guidelines for social work and IRO caseloads is the desirable position, but fluctuating and, at times, increased demand for statutory social work means this will not always be achievable. However, the priority will be to ensure that the commitment is given to the achievement of:
- Assisted & Supported Year in Employment - 15;
- 1 - 3 years - 20;
- 3 years plus - 23.
4. Allocation Standards
It is recognised that child protection investigations require a level of experience above that of a worker in their first year post qualifying.
For the first 6 months of post qualifying employment ASYE will shadow experienced workers then for a further 6 months will undertake joint section 47 enquiries with a more experienced social worker who is not ASYE.
No ASYE social worker should be allocated any high risk casework.
It is recognised and agreed that this approach is the desirable position, but that at times, increased demand for statutory social work means this will not always be achievable.
A tracking system will be developed to monitor compliance with the above standards.
4.1 Management Standard
4.2 Single Assessment
All children and young people for whom the local authority has a responsibility will have a good quality social work assessment and analysis of needs which informs their plan, is on their record and produced within specified timescales.
4.3 Child Protection Enquiries
All children and young people for whom the local authority has a responsibility will be protected from further significant harm by a thorough enquiry that identifies need and risk, is timely and is recorded on their record.
4.4 Working with Children Subject to Child Protection Plans
All children and young people for whom the local authority is responsible for will have a multi-agency child protection plan that is regularly reviewed and updated, that manages risk and is recorded in their record.
4.5 Children in Care
All children and young people whom the local authority has a responsibility to, has a placement that meets their needs, has a multi-agency care plan that is timely and is reviewed regularly.
4.6 Care Leaver Practice Standards
All Care Leavers whom the local authority has a duty to will be provided with comprehensive support so each young person will have a successful transition to Adulthood.
4.7 Good Practice in Case Recording
All children and young people for whom the local authority has responsibility for have records that include an accurate chronology, genogram, plan and reviews with up to date case notes and evidence case notes of management oversight of key decisions.