West Midlands region update Decmber 2016

Update from the West Midlands region for the December meeting of the ADCS Council of Reference

The West Midlands Regional Update

West Midlands Children’s Peer Challenge

The West Midlands region is well into the swing of the 2016/17 Peer Challenge process; our annual Peer Challenge Performance Summit brought together regional DCSs and their challenge teams for our Annual Peer Challenge event on 16 November.

The day was a great success with several common areas for improvement identified which will provide a clear regional focus for 2017-2018:

1. Consistency of quality and timeliness of front door, assessment and planning

  • Developing effective and consistent systems, processes and decision making to avoid drift and delay - including improving the timeliness of permanency planning and adoptions.

2. Improving the quality of practice through a skilled and stable workforce

  • Improving retention of qualified social workers
  • Reducing caseload sizes
  • Developing the workforce and ensuring they are well supported and have the skills to do their job
  • Reducing agency staff (and at the same time improving stability).

3. Working to develop and embed early help

  • Effectively identifying children and families who would benefit from early help
  • Developing partnership working and ownership of early help
  • Developing the early help offer.

4. Safely reducing the number of LAC and those subject to a child protection plan

  • Developing well targeted, evidence based interventions for Children in Need and at the ‘edge of care’.

The learning from this will be shared with lead members, LSCB chairs, chief executives and senior stakeholders at our Leadership Summit on 24 January. This event will provide the opportunity to consult and approve the priorities for improvement work for the next year from the wider system.

WM ADCS Residential in Partnership with the LGA

On Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 December, the West Midlands ADCS group will attend a two-day planning meeting at Warwick University Business School. The residential will be an opportunity to reflect on what the regional ADCS group has achieved to date, as well as a chance to agree how the group want to work together and with its key stakeholders in the future, and to start the process of identifying its programme of work for the next 3-5 years.

Refugee and Asylum Seekers

The regional DCSs are working closely with their finance leads, chief executives, the Strategic Migration Partnership and other partners to respond with a cohesive joint bid to the Migration Fund. A series of regional meetings have been set up in this respect to bring partners together with the SMP in order to develop regional capacity to support this population.

Social Worker Agency Pay Consultation

WM ADCS has agreed to move forwards with the implementation of a pay spine approach to social work agency pay and are presently consulting on how and when they might introduce any reduction in the pay cap and the perceived impact of potential reduced supply of social work professionals this may cause.

By means of further informing the WM position we are collating snapshot data on current usage of agency staff in the region and obtaining comparator data from other regions on pay rates.

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