This week Cabinet approved the latest enhancement to the improved delivery of Children’s Services in Surrey. Approval of a new Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) within Children’s Services is part of the council’s continuing commitment to ensuring children in Surrey get the “right help, care and protection at the right time so they can thrive”.
This new system, in tandem with improved social work practice and in-house assessments made by the range of experts found in the new Family Safeguarding teams, will see a 40% reduction in the number of independent expert assessments used when providing safeguarding and care planning decisions. This new system will provide more consistent practice and better value for money, through the new Gateway to Resources team.
Ofsted’s findings in May 2018 highlighted that there had been an over reliance on independent social workers and other expert witnesses in Surrey, and the quality, value for money and timeliness of assessments are key areas that needed improving.
Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families’ Wellbeing said: ‘I am pleased with the pace and breadth of improvement in Children’s Services. I am sure that this new way of working will play its part in improving timeliness and quality. Improved practice in the past year has already meant a reduction in the use of independent assessments in Special Guardianship Orders. We are increasingly confident in our ability to deliver good quality social work in house.’
The new system will start to be put in place from 1 August 2019 until 31 July 2021 with the option of extension up until but not exceeding 31 July 2024.