Social work praise

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GOOD and effective support for social workers is helping them to protect children better, according to a team of Government inspectors.

Ofsted has published a new report which highlights how effective support for frontline social workers working in child protection at Hartlepool Borough Council is benefiting children in town.

The report is called High Expectations, High Support and High Challenge.

It examines the link between better support for staff and better protection for children.

The report is based on survey inspections of 14 local authorities including Hartlepool, discussions with 245 frontline social worker and managers, and more than 500 responses from social workers to questionnaires.

Inspectors looked in-depth at the experiences of 38 children.

In Hartlepool, inspectors praised interactive child-centred training modules which have been developed.

The training modules are offered to newly qualified practitioners through to senior managers.

John Goldup, deputy chief inspector, said: “Social workers do an incredibly difficult job, often in very stressful circumstances.

“I hope this report will provide valuable insight into the best ways of supporting these front line staff in their roles as they work to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable children.”

The report found that effective support for frontline staff contributes to better outcomes for children.

Children became safer, healthier, less anxious, happier and more effectively supported by their wider families which enabled them to achieve more at school.

In the report social workers welcomed the “rigorous scrutiny” of their performance, which “supported rather than undermined” their confidence in their professional judgement.