[holding answer 29 January 2009]: It is not possible to quantify the number of cases referred to inspectorates by the Department for Children, Schools and Families on a formal basis. The Department communicates routinely with Ofsted and other inspectorates from across the Department. Where communication is on a more formal basis it is because it relates, for instance, to inspectorates' inspection and regulatory functions.
[holding answer 18 March 2009]: DCSF Ministers did not brief any individual or organisations on the contents of Lord Laming's report before mid-day on 12 March. Individuals and organisations whose representatives were briefed by DCSF officials or given embargoed access to the report before that time included:
Annette Brooke MP
Michael Gove MP
Barry Sheerman MP
Association of Chief Police Officers
Association of Directors of Children's Services
The Children's Society
Children's Workforce Development Council
General Social Care Council
National Children's Bureau (NCB)
Action for Children
National College for School Leadership
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
Local Government Association
Phoenix Chief Advocates
Social Work Task Force
Sir Roger Singleton
[holding answer 12 February 2009]: A number of countries, including Sweden and Denmark, are using the conceptual framework which underpins the Integrated Children’s System to develop their systems for assessing, planning, intervening and reviewing in respect of children who would be defined as children in need or looked after children. Each country has developed its own technology to enable social workers to record their work in electronic case records. Training courses for social workers in countries such as Denmark and Sweden have a strong pedagogic, child development and skills focus which enables them to make best use of the conceptual framework which is integral to the Integrated Children’s System and its underpinning processes. In Sweden, an outcomes focus served to highlight the fact that even in a country with very high levels of universal services the health outcomes of looked after children were poorer than for those of other children.
One of the benefits of the international collaboration on ICS has been the shared learning about implementation of such systems.
In Australia, Barnardo’s have major projects involving the use of the Assessment Framework and Looking after Children Exemplars. They have designed and built their own IT systems for their practitioners to record their work with children and families. Their researchers and staff involved in implementing the projects have made positive comments about the use of the conceptual model that underpins ICS. In particular, that it helps staff focus on identifying the needs of individual children and on improving their outcomes.
The following quote was made by one of the managers responsible for supporting the implementation of the Australian Barnardo’s project SCARF in a family support setting:
“Firstly, workers became confident in using a common language, that is, they mean the same thing when they speak about such notions as strengthens, needs, risk of harm, or good enough parenting. Establishing a common language has had the effect of improving communication and reducing the chance of erroneous decisions in case management. Secondly workers using SCARF reported that they paid more attention to the effect their work had on the needs of the children rather than looking at its impact on the parent or carer.”
(Tolley S (2005), National Child Protection Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 13 No, 2, Winter 2005, pp 16- 17).