Coventry City Council

Specialist Children’s Social Work Service

Coventry City Council had experienced major difficulties recruiting social workers within their normal process. This left them with staff shortages and a number of urgent requirements.

ICS Assessment Services met with the Director of Children’s Services to explore the challenges the council was facing, and discuss how they might be overcome. Following these meetings, and the implementation of our bespoke project plan, we assigned a managed service of up to 30 skilled social work practitioners to support the existing workforce in delivering assessments and improving outcomes across the service.


Key Achievements:

  • 95% of all assessments completed and cases closed within timescales
  • Supported the service to increase their own completion rate by 7.5% completed within timescales
  • Overall reduction in caseloads of 30%, average 24 cases per social worker (compared to 34 at the start of the project)
  • Average throughput of 20 cases completed per week
  • Re-referral rates reduced by 5.4% over six months

Approach:

The Council's Children's Services had experienced a high demand in referrals through MASH, and required support in both managing a growing number of assessment and referrals through the front door, and improving their key quality improvement measures such as caseload sizes, re-referrals, and managing assessments within statutory timescales.

In order to support the teams, we delivered a managed First Response Service with the responsibility of:

  • Auditing cases and managing referrals against agreed thresholds
  • Completing Single Assessments
  • Completing Child in Need (CIN) Plans
  • Undertaking and managing Child Protection (CP) cases and requesting case conferences
  • Undertaking duty rota as part of the project
  • Referring cases to Locality Teams, Early Help Teams and step-down/closing cases where appropriate

This project provided the Council with management oversight of the case to ensure the child has been seen and whether the initial picture of the family and child circumstances require ongoing assessment or not. The outcome of our assessment is a clear recommendation back to the Council on whether the case should be closed, stepped down to Early Help or reallocated back to the Council for further investigation and support planning.


Benefits:

  • Our teams quickly mobilised to provide support and advice through our Project Lead and Head of Projects, allowing Coventry's internal services the required 'breathing space' to manage and existing caseload and increase their throughput
  • Offered advice and guidance on referrals from MASH (we received just a 1.2% re-referral rate throughout the project, as a result of changes in circumstance rather than the intervention not addressing the need)

Testimonial

“A team of consultants was assigned to work on Coventry’s behalf and we had regular contact from the project leader, updating us on progress. All targets have been met in the agreed extremely tight timescales and consultants have also been on site to ensure the team settled in.”

Service Manager, Coventry City Council