Greater London Regional Update June 2018
London’s Response to the Regional Improvement Alliance Approach
ALDCS has agreed a framework for a regional sector-led improvement programme. DCSs have prepared their self-evaluations and are now conducting peer challenges in triads within sub-regions. Sub-regional summits will take place in the summer and a regional summit will be held in Autumn to discuss improvement priorities across London.
Serious Youth Violence
DCSs held a practice seminar in March focussing on serious youth violence and knife crime. This brought together borough officers and partners to share current and emerging practice and discuss recommendations for actions that could be taken on a pan-London level. ALDCS has now drafted a report which collates current and emerging practice across London and identifies key opportunities and priorities for the future.
Project managers have been appointed to work at each of the sub-regional ‘spokes’ of London’s regional adoption agency, Adopt London.
Funding Pressures in Children’s Social Care and High Needs
London DCSs are working with London councils and chief executives to consider what further research could be conducted to understand better the financial pressures facing children’s social care budgets and the High Needs Block. Previous analysis had revealed that London boroughs experienced a collective shortfall of £100 million in the High Needs Block, and £94 million in children’s social care in 2016/17.
London has experienced a 4.4% increase in admissions for secondary school places. All boroughs are acting, where necessary, to put in extra places, but there are concerns about next year’s intake given rising numbers and the reliance on free schools opening in time. ALDCS is continuing to support a network for school place planning officers to discuss and make representations on this issue.
The chair of ALDCS gave evidence to the Science & Technology Select Committee inquiry into evidence-based early years intervention, highlighting the early intervention initiatives taking place in London and the need for additional funding for children’s social care, early years, and the continuation of funding for the Troubled Families programme.
The London Safeguarding Children Board is carrying out a review of MASH. The challenge process will focus on six boroughs and the learning from the review will be shared across London. The multi-agency planning group overseeing the review is chaired by a DCS and attended by two assistant directors as well as senior leaders from the police, health, probation and CAFCASS. The dataset submitted by the six boroughs is being reviewed and summarised ahead of seminars which will consider the findings, identify learning and agree recommendations for London.
Children in Custody
A multi-agency working group, chaired by a DCS, is reviewing our approach to providing accommodation to children denied bail. The profile of this issue has increased in recent years – the factors behind the challenge of ensuring we are providing accommodation wherever appropriate are related to both the capacity of the system as well as to the clarity of regulations among the police and local government workforce. The group is also looking into whether bail is being granted in all cases where it is appropriate. The group shares data on police requests for accommodation with local authorities on a regular basis. A draft Protocol for London has been written and is being consulted on. ALDCS is also considering what steps can be taken to develop appropriate accommodation within the London area.
Appropriate Adult Provision (AA)
A multi-agency working group, chaired by a DCS, is currently reviewing the arrangements for the provision of appropriate adults to children and vulnerable adults, including consideration of the future co-commissioning of services. In a very helpful move, the MPS and NHSE have agreed to jointly fund AA provision for vulnerable adults with local authority, adult social care. A draft proposal for future arrangements is being considered by all relevant parties.
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