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1.3 Quality Management Framework


This chapter details how the Quality Management framework supports Social Care Managers in coordinating activity that provides quality assurance and identifies service improvements.


Children Act 1989

The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) 2010

National Minimum Standards

Health and Care Professions Council -Standards of Proficiency


In January 2016, this chapter was extensively updated and should be re-read in its entirety.


  1. Introduction
  2. Audit
  3. Workforce Reporting
  4. Looked After Children Reviews and Child Protection Conferences
  5. Service User Feedback
  6. Supervision and Employee Performance and Development Review (EPDR)

Children and Young People Services Ambition Statement

We want Nottinghamshire to be a place where children are safe, healthy and happy, where everyone enjoys a good quality of life and where everyone can achieve their potential.

1. Introduction

1.1 The core ambition of the Quality Management Framework (QMF) is to centralise the child in delivering a timely and effective service towards the most positive outcome.
1.2 Monitoring and evaluation are the principal components of the QMF, contributing to an evidence base of high service standards, consistency of practice and identifying areas of potential service improvement.
1.3 All staff contribute to the provision of a high standard of service, being responsible and accountable for evidence-based practice, which enables the validity of decision-making to be proven and affirming the provision of the most effective planning for children and young people.
1.4 The framework describes the process to monitor, evaluate and manage performance, as well as identify service improvements necessary.

The QMF is comprised of:

  1. Audits;
  2. Workforce reporting;
  3. Service user feedback;
  4. Supervision and Employee Performance & Development Review (EPDR);
  5. Looked After Child Reviews and Child Protection Conferences.

Click here to view the QMF audit tools (under Quality Management Framework).

In the “category” search function:

  • Case file audit documentation is located under “Quality Management Framework”;
  • Supervision audit documentation is located under “Supervision audit tools”;
  • Workload management documentation is located under “Workload Management”.

2. Audit


The QMF recognises three types of audit:

  1. Quarterly allocated audits by managers. Each quarter managers are required to undertake an audit of three cases allocated randomly by the Quality and Improvement Group Senior Practitioners against an audit tool designed around the Ofsted evaluation criteria. The most recent six months of the case are considered;
  2. Themed (bespoke) audits. In agreement with the senior leadership team, areas requiring further investigation are identified and a commissioned audit undertaken. This could entail consideration of cases against an audit tool, an in-depth discussion or a mixture of both, and may involve a single team or a number of service areas working collaboratively;
  3. In-team local auditing. Managers have access to a range of specific intelligence in order to evaluate the performance of their team or may undertake confined investigations specific to the service area.
2.2 A copy of every audit should be uploaded to the case file immediately.
2.3 A copy of quarterly and themed audits should be sent to the Quality and Improvement Group.
2.4 The results of quarterly and themed audits are reported to divisional leadership and operational leadership teams.

3. Workforce Reporting


Nottinghamshire Children’s Social Care has a Recruitment and Retention Plan which is overseen by the divisional Leadership Team. The Recruitment and Retention Plan has 6 key objectives that it seeks to achieve, these are:

  1. Improve our pay and working benefits, including flexible working;
  2. Improve career progression, training and development opportunities;
  3. Review the ‘in work’ support for social workers to provide a refreshed offer;
  4. Develop team building opportunities;
  5. Focus on the health and wellbeing of our social workers.
3.2 As part of the Recruitment and Retention Plan review and monitoring process a quarterly workforce report is produced to look at progress against the plan as well as giving the service the opportunity to understand its workforce needs. The workforce report also makes up the majority of the DfE statutory annual workforce return.

Every quarter a report is produced that covers the following elements:

  1. CSC staffing establishment;
  2. Vacancies;
  3. Agency staff;
  4. Staff turnover;
  5. Sickness;
  6. Caseloads;
  7. Workload Management;
  8. Supervision Frequency and Quality.
3.4 Data for the report is obtained from various sources including Finance (Budget Monitoring Meetings), HR (BMS), Business Objects (Caseloads), quarterly workload management and supervision returns.
3.5 Workload Management information is reported to the Quality and Improvement team directly from fieldwork team managers on a quarterly basis. The workload management tool allows managers to assess and individual’s workload based upon complexity, risk, time and type of work that would be involved rather than just focusing on the number of cases someone may hold.

The purpose of the workload management tool is to:

  1. Ensure that best use is made of an individual’s time and skills in meeting the needs of service users;
  2. Safeguard staff interests and attempt to avoid work overload;
  3. Safeguard the interests of service users by checking that workers have the skills and capacity to undertake the work required;
  4. Set a reduced and protected workload for newly qualified social workers undertaking their Assessed and Supervised Year of Employment (ASYE);
  5. Measure the workloads of individuals and provide a guide to managers on work allocation;
  6. Generate management information for monitoring, negotiating for and accessing resources and future planning.
3.7 Information about the frequency of supervision sessions, any reasons for missed supervisions and information about staff EPDRs is reported to the Quality and Improvement Team directly from all CSC managers on a quarterly basis. In addition to this Service Managers, Group Managers and Service Directors also complete an annual audit to assure supervision quality. Each Manager looks at 2 supervision files of managers that they have line management responsibility for and seek the views of the supervisee this information is all fed into the overarching workforce report.

4. Feedback and Consultation

4.1 Service user feedback is a regular opportunity for young people and their carers to have their voice heard and for practice to be adapted according to their feedback.
4.2 Every quarter a selection of children and young people are invited to provide in-depth feedback, usually in their own home, to a Practice Consultants. Each Practice Consultant is allocated two interviews per quarter, meaning that typically 25 to 30 children aged 5 years and above are invited to provide feedback every quarter. The selection of children and young people is generally around a particular theme, for example repeat Child Protection Plans or Children in Need.
4.3 As part of this process, children and young people are offered the opportunity to send a “Message in a Bottle”, their own personal and private message directly to the Service Director of Children’s Social Care. This is overseen by the Principle social worker to ensure the process is handled sensitively, with efficiency and that each child receives a personal response back.
4.4 The children selected are also allocated for case file audits in the same quarter, so allowing a full picture to emerge of the child’s experience.
4.5 The completed feedback is uploaded to the child’s file as a ‘Service User Episode’, and the findings collated within the overall QMF quarter report, and an action plan agreed.
4.6 Where appropriate, other methods of feedback are also used, including postal questionnaires and survey monkeys.

5. Supervision and Employee Performance and Development Review (EPDR)

5.1 Supervision is regular, planned and recorded contact and discussion between line managers and the workers for whom they are responsible and can be done through one-to-one meetings, observational and group settings. Supervision must be provided to all workers in the organisation, including temporary and agency workers. Supervision enables managers to monitor and support the performance of their workers and to promote the continuing professional development of workers.

The purpose of supervision is:

  1. To monitor and review workers performance and provide feedback on performance against job description and the objectives set in the Worker Performance and Development Review (EPDR);
  2. To offer work related advice, direction and support;
  3. To ensure clear and regular communication between line manager and worker;
  4. To ensure that policies, procedures and relevant legislation are understood and followed;
  5. To monitor performance standards;
  6. To enable a worker’s professional development by identifying learning and development needs based on the EPDR and reviewing progress to look at whether any learning and development activity undertaken has successfully met learning objectives.
5.3 Worker Performance and Development Review (EPDR) is an annual planned and recorded discussion, with a half-yearly review, that allows the line manager and worker to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead.

6. Looked After Children Reviews and Child Protection Conferences

6.1 The Service Managers (Independent Chair Service) report on Child Protection Conferencing and Looked After Child (LAC) Reviews to both the Children's Social Care Leadership Team (DLT) and to the Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board (NCSB).
6.2 The purpose of auditing LAC Reviews and Child Protection Conferences is to assess practice against standards and statutory guidance, and to ensure that procedures are being followed.
6.3 A monthly Quality Assurance meeting is held by Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs), Child Protection Co-ordinators (CPCs) and Team Managers to discuss quality of practice and to resolve practice issues.
6.4 If IROs or CPCs have practice concerns, they are required to raise a Practice Alert and notify the relevant Team Manager immediately in order that the matter be investigated and appropriate action taken. If the concern involves a management decision, the relevant Service Manager should be alerted.
6.5 The SMs (Independent Chair Service) regularly observe Child Protection Conferences and LAC Reviews to ensure that the chairing is robust, safeguarding issues are adequately addressed and appropriate plans are formulated. Feedback is also sought from other agencies on the effectiveness of the meeting.
6.6 After each statutory review, the IRO completes a monitoring form that reflects upon the quality of social work practice leading up to and during the review. These forms contribute to the SM (Independent Chair Service) quarterly performance report and monthly feedback to Team Managers.
6.7 Once every 6 months the IRO’s and CPC’s facilitate feedback from the children/ young people about their reviews / conferences. This is done via a questionnaire designed by the Children in Care council, which is given out immediately after the meeting. A month is selected to gather the feedback, and the Quality and Improvement team provide a summary of the findings for the SM’s to make any actions needed.