Children’s Social Work Careers

Outstanding Ofsted

Image of children smiling

Lincolnshire continues to provide outstanding services for vulnerable children and their families. Children and families have benefited from leaders prioritising and investing in services, strengthening the range and offer of support. We are one of only six local authorities across England to receive a second consecutive outstanding rating from Ofsted.

The inspectorate hailed the quality of social work as “outstanding”, finding the calibre of child and family assessments “consistently strong”, praising the “excellent practice” with children with disabilities and lauding the trusting relationships practitioners built with families and children in care.

Rating the authority as outstanding for leadership, Ofsted found “visible and approachable” leaders had created an environment in which such high-quality practice could flourish, including by investing in business support to ease practitioners’ workloads and promoting career development. View a copy of  the ofsted report.

Two of our social workers explain the secrets of the county council's success:

Image of Nathan HuftonChildren in Care

Nathan Hufton, an advanced practitioner in the children in care team, says: “It’s really nice to see the work that we’ve been doing being recognised again. We put in the work and we build the relationships and really try our best for every one of our families.”

“Children in care was why I got into social work,” said Nathan. “The young people are just awesome. And for me, it is the fun of just working with teenagers, and building those relationships.” He points to one of the youngest children he works with – a seven-year-old – for whom he successfully secured a foster family.

“We’d done a lot of work around understanding what a foster family was and what families were. In a year, we did the work together – reading ‘The Great Big Book of Families’ – and we saw her level of concentration and reading improve.” Having the right environment, the right foster family and access to therapeutic care are what have helped her to settle and thrive, Nathan adds.

And Nathan believes that Lincolnshire’s robust learning culture, along with training on Signs of Safety and trauma-informed and restorative practices, helps to promote professional curiosity, creating the right environment for high-quality practice.

The Ofsted report praised social workers for the work they did to ensure the views and wishes of children were included in their care plans.

Image of Nathan CattlePraise for child protection practice

As with children in care, Ofsted rated Lincolnshire’s provision for children who need help and protection as outstanding. Inspectors found that the vast majority of decisions at the front door to transfer children to the family assessment and support team (FAST) service for an assessment were “appropriate and timely”.

Nathan Cattle, a social worker in the West Lindsay FAST team, was directly involved in working with Ofsted staff during the inspection. He said inspectors were impressed with the responsive and effective way he dealt with a section 47 child protection enquiry. This involved a young child who had an injury and a parent who was under the influence of alcohol.

Due to its urgency, a safety plan had to be created in a short space of time to support the safety and wellbeing of the child. “I needed to pull everything together as quickly as possible so I did it within my duty week, so I could come up with the safety plan. And the family, so far, are sticking to it. Ofsted seemed impressed with how I managed to pull it together,” he says.

“I love the work that I do and I’m really passionate about this job,” Nathan adds. “And I think that the outstanding [rating] that we got is the validation that we’re definitely doing something right.”

Image of Ofsted outstanding rating