Thursday 14 May 2015
The Health and Social Services Board has today published a service diagnostic report in respect of children's social care in Guernsey and Alderney, as well as the actions taken so far against each recommendation.
The report was undertaken during November and December 2014 by Ruby Parry, HSSD's Interim Director of Children's Health and Social Care, and the subsequent action plan is being delivered in partnership with the Education Department, the Social Security Department, the Home Department, Law Enforcement and the Policy Council as well as service professionals and the third sector.
The report was commissioned for five reasons:
- To identify strengths and areas to improve in social work practice and management relating to children in need, children at risk and children looked after
- To look at how improvements can be made to multi-agency work in Guernsey and Alderney
- To examine current performance information, and to make recommendations for a more robust performance framework in children's social care
- To audit skills and competencies across the children's social care profession and recommend further improvements
- To assess any recruitment and retention difficulties in the social care profession
Deputy Paul Luxon, Minister for HSSD said:
"The children's social care diagnostic report is an important piece of work. It is an evidence-based analysis of where we provide excellence in Guernsey and Alderney for children in need, children at risk and children looked after, where we can do even better for our community's children, and how we can do better, including through working with the social care profession and the third sector."
"On receiving the report early this year, the Board agreed an action plan of 29 recommendations which officers from across HSSD and other departments are working towards delivering. Progress against the recommendations is very good, and I am heartened that although this work began in HSSD it is being delivered in a truly joined-up fashion across the States. It also shows how strong the partnership between government and third sector can be, and it demonstrates the importance of the Third Sector Compact which was agreed between the Policy Council and the third sector last year."
"In my statement to the Assembly on 24 March, I set out clearly that the action plan relating to the children's services diagnostic is at an advanced stage, and I am pleased that we are now publishing the report and the plan in full in order to demonstrate that."
The recommendations are set out under three main areas:
Governance - working towards strengthening multi-agency working
Practice - simplifying internal processes to develop more effective working with a 'team around the child' approach
Workforce - developing a children's social care workforce strategy that enables a more integrated approach
Ruby Parry, HSSD's Interim Director of Children's Health and Social Care, said:
"Children's social care services in Guernsey and Alderney are not unique. They face the same challenge as, for example, Jersey and the UK - of ensuring multi-agency working can be done as effectively as possible. The fact that this report was commissioned and undertaken, and that the response to the action plan is now gaining real momentum, shows that there is real determination in Guernsey and Alderney to provide the best possible social care for children and families who need and use that service."
"There is some excellent practice in Guernsey and Alderney - for example we are now piloting the Multi-Agency Support Hub (MASH), bringing together expertise from the States, professionals and the third sector to better understand and meet children's needs. There is some excellent social work, our health visiting and school nursing services make a real difference, and we have an excellent fostering and adoption service. The work of our foster carers is therefore being celebrated at Government House on 19 May. We have some very committed and child focused professionals working across Guernsey and Alderney, but we know that we can make more of a difference, make the support children and families receive better, and ultimately make the outcomes better for children in need, children at risk and children looked after in our Bailiwick."
"The review and the recommendations should be seen within the context of the wider Children & Young People's Plan, in particular the work-streams on be safe and on healthy and nurtured. This work has informed the Plan, the consultation for which will be launched next week."
Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, the political lead for the Children & Young People's Plan, said:
"The children's social care review has been vital in informing parts of the wider Children & Young People's Plan. We have a very clear task in front of us, to narrow the gap between vulnerable children and the rest of the children in our community."
"The social care review helps us to better understand where we are being effective in meeting that challenge and where we can do better. It is one of the platforms on which the Children & Young People's Plan will be built, and it demonstrates just how important the ongoing work between the States, social care professionals and third sector will be in meeting that challenge."
Jane St Pier, Chair of the Youth Commission and the Hub said:
"We very much welcome the candid and professional assessment that the diagnostics report into the Children's Services Department provides, and particularly the leadership, strategic and operational changes that are now taking place as a result of the report. We have been part of the Children & Young People's Plan drafting team since early 2014 and continue to work closely with statutory agencies to ensure that truly effective multi-agency provision results. I think we all recognise that, only when all of the relevant organisations in our community work together, will we trigger the step change in outcomes that is needed for our vulnerable children and young people."