Eastern Region Update September 2016

Update from the Eastern region for the ADCS Council of Reference

Peer challenge, self-assessment and peer review:

  • The main work of the 2016 self-assessment process has been completed including the successful receipt and moderation of each self-assessment and the completion of the DCS Peer Challenge workshop and regional priority setting with DCSs and ADs. Two new regional priorities have been identified:
  1. Doing things differently
  2. Improve the attainment of children, especially around KS2, including narrowing the gap which will build on the current regional priority around narrowing the gap for looked after children.
  • Two peer reviews are scheduled before the end of the year. The first, in early November, will focus on domestic abuse and the second, towards the end of November, will focus on children in care and care leavers. Two school improvement peer reviews were also completed over the summer
  • A first draft of our new peer review methodology has been prepared and will be reviewed by our regional ADCS group. As part of this work it has been agreed to complete a ‘contact and referral paired peer review’, where each LA in the region will buddy up with another. Again, the scope of this will be reviewed and agreed by our regional ADCS group.
  • In March, Central Bedfordshire were inspected under the Joint Targeted Area Inspection framework. As part of regional collaboration Central Bedfordshire led a short workshop to share their experiences, which was well attended and well received by colleagues. The presentation has been made available more widely on the ADCS website.
  • Following the DCS group meeting in June it was agreed that the SLI Programme will support managing SEND peer reviews in the region. Hertfordshire have recently received a SEND inspection and as part of regional collaboration have agreed to share their experience with the region. At this workshop the idea of completing paired SEND peer reviews will be discussed.

Regional Priorities:

Doing things differently: More detailed scoping is due to be completed with lead DCSs and chairs of the linked network groups. It is proposed that some of the existing work of the programme is aligned to this priority area including the work on the peer review methodology, contact and referral peer reviews and developing a framework for what good early help looks like.

Supporting LSCBs on their journey towards outstanding: It has been agreed that this priority area will be closed as a discrete area of work. An area of focus in the ‘Doing things differently’ priority area will be ‘What next for safeguarding partnerships (LSCBs)?’

Attainment and progress of children in care and care leavers: The regional virtual school heads group have developed an action plan to help address some of the priorities that are being identified through school inspections. The plan has been through a number of iterations and has been reviewed recently by HMI. It is now more closely linked to the Ofsted regional priorities. The main themes of the plan now are improve the outcomes of looked after children, those placed outside their home authority and those attending alternative and residential education settings.

This area of work has been identified to be continued over the next year under the priority area of the ‘Improve the attainment of children especially around KS2, including narrowing the gap’.

Vulnerable adolescents: A programme of work for the rest of the calendar year has been planned and includes:

  • Mapping of models of delivery for adolescent services – report to be produced
  • Regional workshop to report, share and identify elements of good practice
  • LA action plans to be developed to improve practice and value for money.

Once these deliverables are complete it is has been agreed to close this regional priority area.

Cultural difference and understanding in social work practice: The aim is to develop a number of tools, including Train the Trainer courses, at a regional level which can then be implemented by each local authority. It is the plan to build on the legacy of the DfE Innovation Fund funded project completed by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk LSCBs focusing on safeguarding children and cultural competence. A scope has been agreed in conjunction with a subgroup of strategic workforce leads and principal social workers and a provider has been selected.

Leadership & workforce development: A plan is in place to collect agency social worker data three times over 2016/17 to inform analysis and test the effectiveness of our Memorandum of Understanding regarding pay rates for agency social workers. There is an ongoing plan to ensure that all agency social workers are brought in line with the agreed payment scales by 31 January 2017.

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