Social services Our improvement journey

Manchester - a city on the way up

Improvement journey for children's services

Our Children's Services is on an improvement journey. Since our last Ofsted inspection judged us as inadequate in the Summer of 2014, we have implemented a four-year improvement plan to transform services for the children and young people of Manchester.

To this end Manchester City Council has approved the investment of over £24 million in additional funding for more staff and more support for staff to give us the resources we need to bring our plan to fruition.

We understand that the route to our improvement is through embracing a learning culture, listening to our workforce and empowering our Social Workers to deliver exceptional services to children, young people and families. With this in mind our plan puts our social work staff at the centre of our strategy.

We have supported our team to achieve a lot already

  • We have recruited a permanent leadership team with a strong track record of success in Children’s Services
  • We have set up a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub which is making a real impact on the volume of referrals coming into the service
  • We have invested in additional Social Work staff, which will enable us to reduce caseloads to an average of 18 per Social Worker
  • We have invested in additional Team Manager and Service Manager posts to reduce the spans of responsibility, allowing our managers to provide clear management oversight and regular supervision to all of our social work staff
  • We have trained all social work staff in Signs of Safety, the 'strength based' social work model (developed in the UK by Professor Eileen Munroe), which is being implemented across the Authority
  • We have implemented new organisational arrangements in which there are more Service Managers and Team Managers empowered to supporting smaller teams
  • We have made additional support available to all teams through the appointment of a Consultant Social Worker within every service to support our ASYE programme, deliver exceptional CPD and assist with more complex cases
  • We are investing in early help (through our partners), empowering our social work teams to offer this support to families when they need it
  • We have invested significantly in training and development
  • We have provided all of our Social Workers with a laptop and smartphone to enable flexible working arrangements and plans are in place for further investment in 'smarter working technologies'
  • We have halved our staff turnover in the past two years and reduced our dependency on agency workers to less than 10%

You are at the heart of plans for the future

We believe that it is only by hiring the best people, providing them with a safe working environment and supporting them to deliver great social work that we can improve outcomes for the children of Manchester.

This view is at the heart of our ongoing objectives for the development of Children’s Services in the city:

  1. reduce demand through investment in early help for families that need it and securing early permanence for children
  2. create manageable workloads by investing in more social work staff and more support for our staff
  3. create a more stable, confident and capable workforce organised into smaller teams, supported by additional management capacity
  4. a greater focus on performance and practice management to evidence the outcomes for children and families

The wider Manchester strategy – building on our team's strengths

'Our Manchester' is an authority-wide strategy developed to create jobs and growth, ensuring that everyone can benefit from, and contribute to, the city’s success.

It is a bold approach that focuses on people's strengths and helps unlock the potential that exists in our city. It will take time and commitment but if we get it right 'Our Manchester' has the power to radically transform what we achieve together.

One of these strengths-based approaches is our new model for social work, Signs of Safety, which is already being used by a number of local authorities in the UK, and will be integral to everything we do. Signs of Safety is an innovative approach to child protection - working with families to manage risk, safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. All of our social work staff are being trained in it, along with many partners, and we see this as a long term commitment to working positively with families in the city, and improving outcomes for them.

See more about the Our Manchester strategy

Download our children and young people's plan 2016 to 2020.

Download a copy of the children and young people's plan poster.

See children's services policies and strategies.

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