We have come to learn that Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted Chief Inspector, who will finish later this year, said that overworked and dedicated staff are being let down by bad leadership in Local Authorities. Some of whom are responsible for “systemic failure on a shocking scale”.
Whilst this will not come as a surprise to anyone that works in front-line Children’s Services, I must say that it is rather refreshing to hear the explanation offered by Sir Michael Wilshaw in terms of failing authorities – which are not, for a change, as a result of front-line staff and social workers! Rather, it is due to systematic failings from those leading such services, which let down front-line staff and in turn public service delivery.
Within the Annual Ofsted Report, the story is again all too familiar. It highlights that three quarters of Children’s Services across England are inadequate or require improvement. As ever, the reoccurring features linked to poor service delivery include high caseloads (in some areas have five times as many children in their caseload as in others), a failure to see children alone and delays in undertaking visits.
However, will such views be listened too and acted upon by Local Authorities and/or Government? Unfortunately, I am not convinced. Particularly given, as announced in the Queen’s Speech in May, that the Government is planning to create a brand-new social work regulator to replace the HCPC. This, they say, will allow for more accountability and monitoring of social workers. Does this does sound like a service being valued and/or one whereby they will be asked to hold bosses or chiefs accountable? Again, I am not convinced!