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Wakefield brings a new lease of life to Children’s Social Work

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Wakefield Councils Children’s Services department has been well documented in recent years through a number of Ofsted reports stating “requires improvement”, “there are significant weaknesses” and most recently in June 2018 “Inadequate”. However, recently a new lease of life has been injected into the Senior Management within the Council and the effects of this are now cascading through the Children’s Services to help Social Workers manage their caseloads and provide a service that the local community deserve.


The Past

In September 2016 an Ofsted inspection took place (click here to view the full inspection) which concluded that several parts of Children’s Services within Wakefield required improvement. In June 2017 a local area SEND inspection focusing on Children with Special Educational Needs/ Disabilities took place and the report found “a Written Statement of Action is required because of significant areas of weakness in the local area’s practice” (here). This was then followed by a focused visit to Wakefield Council Children’s Services in March 2018 and again “significant weaknesses” were found “in the quality of Children’s services in Wakefield” (here). Unfortunately, Wakefield’s Children’s social care services were classed as inadequate across all sectors inspected in the summer of 2018 (here).

New Senior Management


Following Ofsted’s judgement, “There was insufficient capacity at all levels of the service, and the issues of poor practice were so widespread, that it will be a significant challenge for these plans to result in children being sufficiently safeguarded in the immediate future”. It could be fair to say Wakefield was struggling across Children’s Services with no signs of improvement. To challenge this, the Chief Executive Merran McRae confirmed Beate Wagner as the Corporate Director for children and young people. This was then followed by the appointment of Vicky Schofield as Service Director for Children’s Social Care (previously helped Rotherham’s Ofsted increase from inadequate to good) and the appointment of Peter Dwyer as Commissioner (former director of children’s services at North Yorkshire CC). This ‘dream team’ are spearheading a new direction and dealing with a plethora of issues head on.

Children Social Workers Are Key

One of the main issues facing Wakefield Children’s Services in the past was the high caseloads each Social Worker had. This, in conjunction with ever-demanding time pressures, led to the quality in the reports and the service provided to drop. The dream team realised this early on and have been creating new social work teams to release the pressure. This Social Work focus doesn’t stop there; each team also includes a Family Support Worker and experienced Team Manager. These can often be an oversight, assuming that more bums on seats will sort the problem. Team Managers are an essential part of a cohesive team. Some teams just increase the number of Social Workers without taking into account the impact this has. The Managers at Wakefield can effectively manage small teams. This enables each team leader to supervise properly and support all the social workers effectively, the family support workers also work tirelessly to provide support to the whole team! Several new children’s social work teams have already been created with the most recent only being signed off this month, indicating that there may be more in the pipeline. This is an exciting time for Wakefield Council, they are taking very big positive steps to provide a much better service to the local children, families and young people.

As a recruiter I am now receiving much more positive feedback from the Social workers within Wakefield and if you would like to join the team please do not hesitate to contact me here or call 01772 208 964.
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