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North East Region Update - November 2017

Sector-Led Improvement

To support the region’s programme of regional peer challenges, a further training session was held in October, facilitated by the LGA Programme Manager (Children’s Services), the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Programme Manager and the Children’s Improvement Advisor for the North East. The region now has around 70 people trained as peer challengers across children’s and adult services. The first peer challenge took place in Stockton in October and preparation for the next, in North Tyneside, is underway.

The region has been considering developing a model of peer case file auditing and is currently exploring with Ofsted the possibility of working with them to pilot a training session.

At a regional SLI planning session in September, DCSs agreed to introduce a more integrated model of SLI. This will involve bringing together existing data benchmarking and peer challenge activity with the new self-evaluation and challenge processes, along with a more structured means of sharing good practice in the region.

In October directors and assistant directors attended a workshop on asset-based approaches delivered by Anton Florek from the Staff College and colleagues from Wigan Council. The workshop provided an opportunity to hear about the different approaches being taken to reframe the relationship between citizens and public sector agencies and specifically to learn about the ethnographic approach taken as part of the ‘Wigan Deal’.

Workforce Development

Our regional agreement in relation to agency social workers came into force on 4 September 2017. Early indications suggest that the market is beginning to stabilise with less movement of workers and some authorities reporting a greater take-up of permanent vacancies in their organisations. Alongside the regional agreement, we are focusing our attention on attracting more social workers into the North East, for example, we plan to take our regional campaign, ’Put your heart into social work in the North East’, to the Compass social work show in London.


North East ADCS is working with NCER to host a ‘strategic use of education data’ conference in the New Year. The event is aimed at local authority education directors and heads of school improvement and will explore NCER systems and how they can help local authorities hold schools and academies to account, work effectively with sub-regional improvement boards, and support looked after children. The event, on 23 January 2017 in Newcastle, is open to any authority, not just those in the North East, contact abigail.holder@newcastle.gov.uk for more information and to book a place.

Care Leavers

North East DCSs have agreed jointly to fund an apprenticeship for a care leaver to support the work of our regional Children in Care Council, which has asked DCSs to look at how we can provide a consistent offer to looked after children and care leavers in our region.

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