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1.1 Children’s Social Care Service Policy, Values and Principles


  1. Introduction
  2. Vision
  3. Principles
  4. Key Target Groups for this Statement
  5. Supporting Guidance
  6. Achieving Our Vision
  7. Communication
  8. Monitoring and Evaluation

1. Introduction

This is a statement of intent for Nottinghamshire County Council's Children's Social Care Division. It sets out our vision and principles for Children's Social Care and is intended to provide clarity of purpose in this vital area of the Council's provision.

Accountability for the Children's Social Care Division rests with the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and the Corporate Director for Children, Families and Culture.

2. Vision

To provide the most vulnerable children and young people in Nottinghamshire with the support and protection that they need to be safe, secure and happy, and to achieve their full potential.

3. Principles

Our work with children, young people and families is underpinned by the following guiding principles:

  • The principal focus of children’s social care service is to protect and support the most vulnerable children and young people in Nottinghamshire;
  • Our aim is to keep children at home in their families wherever possible and where it is safe to do so;
  • We believe that children should exit the care system by returning to their family or into alternative permanent placements, such as adoption, as quickly as possible;
  • We are committed to the provision of effective leadership for our children’s social care service;
  • We will ensure that our children’s social care service have the capacity to secure sustained improvement;
  • We will seek to identify and disseminate good practice, and to create a learning culture in children’s social care service;
  • We seek to maximise value for money and to be accountable to the people of Nottinghamshire for our children’s social care service.

4. Key Target Groups for this Statement

Children and families in Nottinghamshire Elected Members of the County Council, The Children and Young People Services workforce

All partners working with children and young people in Nottinghamshire, including schools

5. Supporting Guidance

Relevant statutory and non-statutory guidance is included below in a hyperlinked list.

This list will be reviewed and updated annually in line with new documentation from Government. The first links are shown below:

6. Achieving Our Vision

In order to deliver our vision, we will:

  • Make accurate and timely assessments of need:
    • We will undertake high quality assessments within agreed timescales to establish a child's needs, the parents' capacity to meet those needs, and to keep the child safe and promote his or her welfare;
    • We will create effective partnerships with other agencies, working together to meet the needs of children and families, in ways that recognise diversity, to provide early access to a range of appropriate services so that families get the right support at the right time.
  • Secure the best outcomes for children and families quickly:
    • We will work to provide positive outcomes, recognising that all children require permanency and that, whenever possible, children are best cared for within their family. When children and young people cannot return to their families, we will provide the support they need to achieve fulfilling adult lives;
    • The assessments we undertake will be outcome led, providing whenever possible support to keep families together through continued working with our partners.
  • Listen to children, young people and their families, giving them a say and putting them at the centre of the services they receive:
    • We will work towards every child and family being respected, heard and valued;
    • Children and families will have the opportunity to contribute to their own plans. We will incorporate the views of children and families when we plan and provide our services, and we will introduce improved mechanisms to seek feedback which will be used in future service planning.
  • Have a qualified and effective workforce committed to supporting families and improving outcomes for children:
    • Our workforce will use its child protection expertise to keep children safe;
    • Our workforce will be a well qualified, trained and supported workforce and it will bring professionalism and passion to its work. We will work in an inclusive, anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive way;
    • Our workforce will be adequately resourced and have the right mix of skills, training and capacity. Performance will be managed and measured against a clear competency framework;
    • We will have clear policies that are reviewed and revised to respond to national developments in social care practice, and to ensure they are fit for purpose. We will be clear about our roles, responsibilities and accountability for keeping children safe and we will embed this culture in our front line services;
    • We will have a workforce development plan which identifies areas for development and delivers an action plan to meet those needs.
  • Create effective partnerships with other agencies to work together to meet the needs of children, young people and families
    • We recognise that working collaboratively is the best way to support the most vulnerable children and families;
    • We will work with our partners to organise and plan services which safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, and will continue to focus services on positive outcomes;
    • Thresholds for accessing social care services will be clear and understood by our partners within our wider early intervention strategy, supported by Joint Access Teams and the Pathway to Provision guidance.
  • Provide effective leadership:
    • We will provide clear and effective inward and outward facing leadership to ensure the best outcomes for vulnerable children;
    • We will be accountable for the services we provide. We will critically evaluate our services using external and peer assessment and take action to improve when required.

7. Communication

The following groups will be targeted for briefings and communications, which disseminate and support the understanding and operation of Children's Social Care:

  • Elected Members of the County Council;
  • Corporate and departmental leadership teams;
  • Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children's Board;
  • Partner agencies and the Voluntary and Community Sector;
  • Schools (headteachers and governors);
  • Joint Access Teams;
  • The Nottinghamshire Children's Trust Board and Executive.

The statement will be available on the County Council's intranet site and the public website.

8. Monitoring and Evaluation

This statement of intent will be monitored by the Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children's Board, using the following vehicles and measures:

  • At the end of the Improvement Notice, on-going achievement of the national average for performance against the following measures:
    1. Child and Family Assessments completed within timescale;
    2. Rates of re-referral;
    3. Initial child protection conferences are completed within timescale;
    4. Review child protection conferences are completed within timescale.
  • Achievement of the following OFSTED inspection judgements:
    1. No areas for priority action are identified in unannounced inspections of contact, referral and assessment arrangements;
    2. The service is judged "Good" in full inspections of safeguarding and looked after children services.