Greater London Region Update - September 2017

Funding Pressures in Children’s Social Care and High Needs

In common with other regions, London DCSs continue to work with regional Borough Treasurers and Chief Executives on developing a deeper understanding of the financial pressures being experienced by children’s social care budgets and the high needs block issues. Recent analysis across the London boroughs has revealed that overspends on children’s social care are even higher than that on adult social care in the majority of councils in the region. The analysis has also highlighted an overspend of £94 million on the high needs block across the region. We are hopeful that this analysis will provide a robust evidence base to support the call for further investment in high needs and children’s social care.

Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) Costs

A survey has been carried out to collect detailed data on placement costs for UASC across the region. A further survey is being undertaken to gain a more detailed understanding of the non-placement costs of providing services to UASCs. As ever we hope these analyses will inform the Home Office’s current review of daily funding rates.

Regionalising Adoption

London is continuing to develop the service and financial model for a future Regional Adoption Agency. These activities are critical to providing confidence to DCSs in the region that the proposition will deliver quality improvements, greater efficiency, as well as ensuring that officials in the DfE are able to understand the future of adoption in London. We have been looking at and hopefully learning from other regions who are further down the development path.

Child Death Review Arrangements

The region will be working with the Healthy London Partnership to consider the most effective footprint of CDRs in London. This will include considering how best to ensure timely identification of trends and collation of lessons learned; the balance between local, sector and pan-London delivery and reporting; and opportunities for standardisation and the role of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

Children in Custody

We are working with the MPS to reduce the number of children held in custody. A multi-agency meeting has been set up to address this issue and is chaired by a DCS. It has met once and work has started to enable the MPS to share the details of children held in custody with the appropriate boroughs.

HMIC Safeguarding Inspection and the Introduction of the One Met Model

In the future ALDCS will be considering transformation opportunities available to the system and the longer-term relationship with the MPS given its transformation plans. We are also actively working with them on their improvement plans following the highly critical HMIC safeguarding inspection. A DCS is a member of the Gold Group overseeing the police response, and children’s social care and local safeguarding children boards are now represented on the range of groups set up by the police to take forward the HMIC recommendations. The most recent report from the HMIC acknowledged some progress but still identified serious concerns.

Sector-Led Improvement

DCSs and ADs are coming together for a session on SLI on September 18th involving the LGA and potential input from another region. We are analysing our dataset to consider sector-led improvement priorities and how we further develop effective peer challenge and support.

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