The Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Neighbourhood Working, the Assistant Director of Children and Young People’s Services and the Head of Safeguarding Quality and Learning attended the meeting to provide a progress report on the implementation of the Children and Young People’s Workforce Strategy. The Deputy Leader noted that the strategy had been presented to the commission at a previous meeting and that the report provided an update on how the strategy was being implemented with a focus on the Rotherham Family Approach and Rotherham Learning Academy.
The Head of Safeguarding Quality and Learning provided an overview of the Rotherham Family Approach noting that it incorporated three methodologies; Signs of Safety; Restorative Practice and Social Pedagogy and advised that over the past three years the leadership team and Learning and development Team had worked to ensure the approaches and the key ethos was embedded in all work and decision making with children and their families. The Head of Safeguarding also advised that the Rotherham Family Approach was built around the question that was central to all work carried out with children and their families in Rotherham of “Would this be good enough for my child and family?”.
The Head of Safeguarding Quality and Learning made a presentation to the meeting on the Rotherham Learning Academy. It was noted that the Rotherham Learning Academy had been launched in 2017 and sought to coordinate existing training and to embed the Rotherham Family approach in all Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) activity across the authority. It was noted that the key aims of the Rotherham Learning Academy were:
· to offer a clear development pathway across the Children Young People Services for the entire workforce.
· to provide support, challenge, clarity and continuity, as well as opportunity for progression and development
· to support a virtual learning environment
· to provide up to 15 working days of training, learning and development activities to practitioners.
The presentation provided information on how the training would be delivered and coordinated and how it would enable the further deliverance and embedding of the Rotherham Family Approach across the authority.
The Head of Safeguarding Quality and Learning advised that the Learning Academy was having a positive impact across the service, noting the significant reduction in agency staff employed across CYPS, and the stability and capability that this provided for the service. The Deputy Leader advised that the percentage of agency staff employed at Rotherham was far below the national average and noted that the average number of days absent by staff in CYPS was below both the Rotherham and national averages. The Deputy Leader welcomed how the implementation of the Learning Academy was further embedding new ways of working and the Rotherham Family Approach across CYPS.
Members asked how the 15 days training would be delivered and whether it would be mostly online, or whether there would be other training methods used. The Assistant Director of Children and Young People’s Services advised that the training offer was a “blended” offer that would include many different methods of training. Members also asked whether the training accessed would be certificated and whether the training would count towards formal training. The Assistant advised that the training would be certificated and for social workers the training could be used when they reapplied to continue to be registered social workers. The Head of Safeguarding Quality and Learning noted that some of the training offered could be used as credits for formal qualifications, but that this would depend on individual circumstances.
Members enquired how the delivery and uptake of training would be monitored and its impact evaluated. The Assistant Director provided details of how the training completed would be recorded and advised that this monitoring activity would then be used to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the training and to assess if any changes to the training offer needed to be made.
The Vice-Chair thanked the Assistant Director of Children and Young People’s Services and the Head of Safeguarding Quality and Learning for attending the meeting and answering their questions.
(1) That the report be noted.
(2) That it be noted that the Improving Lives Select Commission supports and endorses the CYPS Workforce Strategy and notes the integral part of the Rotherham Learning Academy of supporting the delivery of the strategy.
(3) That a progress report on the delivery of the CYPS Workforce Strategy be brought back to a meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission in 12 months’ time.