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North East Region Update - September 2017

DCS Changes

This autumn the region welcomes two new appointments: Helen Watson as DCS in Middlesbrough and Caroline O’Neill as DCS/DASS in Gateshead. In Northumberland Daljit Lally has taken up the post of interim Chief Executive and Andy Johnson is now the interim DCS.

Sector-Led Improvement

Following a successful training session in May, a further 24 staff from 11 local authorities in the region are due to take part in a peer challenge training day in October with the aim of growing capacity for peer challenge work within the region. The training will again be 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. A programme of peer challenges, based on the model used in Yorkshire and Humber, will begin in October in Stockton.

North East DCSs are also planning a half day session with the region’s LGA Improvement Adviser to consider strengths and challenges and agree some shared regional priorities for the coming year.

Workforce Development

Our regional agreement in relation to agency social workers came into force on 4th September. This follows several months of work culminating in a Memorandum of Understanding between all 12 North East local authorities, which aims to stabilise costs and churn in the market. The agreement builds on learning from other regions and sees a cap on agency social worker pay rates and the introduction of improvements in recruitment processes for agency staff.

We are looking forward to taking our regional campaign “Put your heart into social work in the North East” to the Compass Social Work show in London in November to promote the benefits of living and working in the North East.

Our commitment to retaining and developing social work staff has seen 25 members of staff from seven local authorities in the region invited to participate in the ‘Firstline’ leadership development programme which begins in October. By taking a regional approach, we have been able to involve staff from smaller local authorities in the programme.


North East ADCS is working with NCER to host a ‘strategic use of education data’ conference in the new year. The event will be for local authority education directors, heads of school improvement and performance leads and will explore the areas in which data can support local authorities to best target their resources.

Care Leavers

Young people from our regional Children in Care Council have asked us to look at how the very best examples of support in our region could be extended to all care leavers regardless of where they live in the North East. We will be working with the young people to explore the potential for a regional offer to care leavers.

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