Dorset joins national scheme to improve children’s social care

Dorset County Council is teaming up with another local authority as part of a Government initiative to improve children’s social care across the country.

Partners in Practice gives councils the opportunity to work together and share best practice to strengthen the way they support the most vulnerable children.

Dorset will be working with Essex County Council – one of the leading authorities for children’s social care – as part of its own plan to improve and modernise its services.

Over the last year, Dorset has introduced measures to strengthen its own practice, including:
• a unique staff development programme called Reinvigorating Social Work
• a £1m investment to recruit more children’s social workers and help reduce caseloads and make them manageable
• a rigorous audit programme to look at cases and improve social care practice

Funded by the Department for Education, the peer support from Essex County Council will further strengthen work that is already underway in Dorset.

Cllr Steve Butler, Cabinet member for safeguarding at Dorset County Council, said: “Protecting vulnerable children is a top priority for the county council and we’re committed to offering the best, and most responsive, support to children and their families as best we can.

“We’re working hard to improve the way we deliver children’s social care, which is why we wanted to join this programme. Essex County Council has a great track record and we’re looking forward to learning from their experiences and continuing developing our own practice here in Dorset.”

Officers from Essex will initially join the council at the end of August and will spend a total of 40 non-consecutive days in Dorset.