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West Midlands Regional Update - November 2017

Update from the West Midlands region…

Regional Improvement Alliance Pilot

We have continued to develop our sector-led improvement work and our process for learning from each other:

  • All 14 local authorities/children’s trusts in the region have completed their self-assessments and these have been moderated by DCS and AD volunteers. The next step is a challenge event on 22 November 2017 where the emerging regional priorities will be discussed with representatives from each local authority. Key learning points from the SEFs will be shared and triads of councils will run peer challenge sessions on identified areas for development
  • Since the last update, more peer reviewers have been trained via the LGA programme, ready for a programme of thematic reviews during the year
  • The next stages involve a Members’ leadership workshop in November, co-produced by Members and the LGA; a DCS residential in December; and in the New Year, chief executives, lead members, safeguarding board chairs and DCSs will reflect on learning to date and confirm the priority areas for development for 2018/19
  • The pilot in the West Midlands is specifically testing effective improvement planning and the involvement of children’s trusts in the model.

Challenge 2021

The Children’s Improvement Programme, ‘Challenge 2021’ is seeing further signs of progress:

  • SIF inspection judgements, monitoring visits and pilot inspections have continued to evidence improvement, as a result the safeguarding inspection judgement profile is looking more positive, reversing a declining trend over recent years
  • Validated and un-validated educational outcomes have shown some pleasing progress, with every council in the region bar one, in relation to improvements at Early Years Foundation Stage and in children achieving a Good Level of Development. The progress and attainment of disadvantaged groups remains a challenge at every key stage
  • As part of the region’s developing approach to managing risk and demand, which was shared at NCAS, there is a specific focus on the rising numbers of children in care. Emerging from this is an exploratory discussion about a new approach to meeting the range of secure needs.

Workforce and FutureSocial

The region is one of three regions to roll out the ‘Return to Social Work’ programme, along with the Eastern Region and London. At the time of writing the programme had only just launched, with over 200 enquiries nationally in the first fortnight.

FutureSocial is reaching final business plan stage for agreement with the DfE. A summary update on FutureSocial can be found here.

Migration Fund

An update on work being undertaken to support UASCs can be found here.

Regional Adoption Board

Whilst the work to develop the Regional Adoption Agencies continues, we were pleased to host the first adoption decision makers learning event for the National Adoption Leadership Board.

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