Social Mobility Action Plan - Comment

Alison Michalska, President of ADCS, said:

“ADCS is entirely supportive of improving the social mobility of all children and young people. Children should be at the heart of any effective social mobility agenda and improving their outcomes at the core of all public policy if we are to tackle the challenges children and their families face today and create a country that works for all children. We welcome the publication of this action plan and its focus on education but improving social mobility is everybody’s business and without cross government support we are unlikely to see the sustained changes and improvements needed to improve the life chances of every child. Whilst £800m of funding to improve social mobility is welcome, sadly, the Treasury has decided not to invest in our children and this money will instead be redirected from elsewhere within the Department’s overall budget. It remains unclear where this money will come from and we would urge the government to share more information to help us better understand the implications for our schools and wider children’s services.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

NAAS consultation response from ADCS

Responding to the government’s response to the national assessment and accreditation system (NAAS) consultation Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee, said:

“Social workers carry exceptional responsibility on behalf of society. They work alongside vulnerable children and families and provide emotional and practical support to help them make positive changes and overcome challenges in their lives. Social workers can only effectively safeguard and support the children and families they work with if they themselves are equipped with the necessary skills and support to do their jobs well, so we welcome the government’s commitment to raising the quality and confidence of the children and family social work workforce.

“ADCS has engaged extensively and constructively with the Department for Education on the social work reform agenda since the announcement of the knowledge and skills statements in 2014. In this time we have been clear about our views on the national accreditation and assessment system as outlined in our consultation response. ADCS believes that assessment and accreditation for the approved child and family practitioner must be mandatory, rolled out at pace and fully funded as a new burden. It is therefore disappointing that the government has not listened to our concerns and that assessment and accreditation remains a voluntary system, without the mandate necessary to avoid dividing the workforce – into social workers who are accredited and those who aren’t – and that it remains unclear whether assessment and accreditation will be fully funded by government beyond phases one and two. We hope these issues are given sufficient consideration as part of the ongoing evaluation process. We would also argue that the money spent on the NAAS is not the best use of limited resources. ADCS is committed to working with government to get these reforms right for social workers and for vulnerable children and families too. That the implementation of the NAAS will be supported by real-time analysis and evaluation is both welcome and sensible, as is the Department’s commitment to addressing issues around equality and diversity identified in the proof of concept phase. It is important that the findings from this research are shared with the sector and that we understand how they will influence the model and the social work workforce in the future.”


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Update: RS Policy Committee - Nov 2017

Standalone Resources & Sustainability meeting

Representatives from the National Audit (NAO) joined the group to discuss the NAO’s study looking at the conversion of schools to academy status. The committee was disappointed that the study focused on the conversion process rather than whether the policy of academisation represents good use of public money and improves outcomes. Consideration of how the academy system is meeting the needs of the most vulnerable learners is critical as the numbers of children electively home educated are increasing as are the number of students being placed in more specialist provision e.g. special schools and alternative provision.

There remains an inequality of treatment of the financial balances of schools which become academies via different routes. LAs also provide a range of support to schools during the transfer process which has cost implications yet LAs receive no additional funding. Some LAs are beginning to recharge academies for the costs incurred during conversion but it was noted the DfE is not supportive of this approach.

Finally, the group received a short update on home to school transport following the ADCS survey in 2016 which showed LAs spent approximately £1b pa on this service. DfE has committed to reviewing the statutory guidance on home to school transport for children with special educational needs and/ or disabilities however, there are no plans to make changes to the legislation that underpins this. The committee will continue to gather case study examples of work taking place locally on home to school transport.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Update: SPI Policy Committee - November 2017

Standards, Performance & Inspection meeting

The Head of Contracts from the newly formed Youth Custody Service (YCS), joined the group to discuss the stark assessment of the youth justice system presented in the Chief Inspector of Prisons’ annual report 2016/17. HMCI concluded that: “There was not a single establishment that we inspected in England and Wales in which it was safe to hold children and young people,” describing the speed of decline as “staggering,” and warning the current state of youth custody is so dangerous tragedy is “inevitable.”

The formation of the YCS decouples the YJB’s responsibility for oversight and delivery of youth justice services but it is unclear if the addition of this extra player will help or hinder this complex set of arrangements. The group asked how the concerns raised by HMCI were being addressed by the NCS and how the MoJ, the YJB, the DfE and operators were engaged in this process. A significant piece of work around the workforce in secure settings is now in train, this involves redesigning the role of staff working directly with children and young people, encouraging use of social pedagogy and the provision of additional training. Investments are also being made in the secure estate and in the longer term secure schools will replace YOIs and STCs.

Finally, the group received a short update on the progress of the Association’s plans for the development of regional improvement alliances. This work attempts to formalise, and bring a greater level of coherence to the sector-led improvement arrangements already in place across the nine regions. The LGA and Solace are actively engaged with this work, as is the DfE. The group discussed the importance of all LAs having an equal share and stake in the arrangements and called on ADCS to continue to press on the valuable learning LAs that had been on an improvement journey have to share – it isn’t just ‘good’ LAs that have something to give. Three regions have agreed to pilot these new arrangements in the autumn term. Learning from this exercise would be brought back to a future meeting of the committee.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Update: HCAN and RS Policy Committees - December 2017

Heath, Care & Additional Needs and Resources & Sustainability Policy Committees

The two committees came together on 3 November in Manchester. The group was joined by representatives from ISOS to discuss the work they have been doing with a number of local authorities to review local SEND strategy and provision. Many LAs are facing the same challenges but do not necessarily have the levers to address these. Local systems are responding to these challenges in different ways and the committees were keen to pull this all together, providing a clear overview of the implementation of the SEND reforms.

A rep from NHS England then joined the group to discuss mental health and wellbeing. NHS England has a wide-ranging programme of work linked to the priorities detailed in Future in Mind including: roll out of CYP IAPT; development of a generic CYP mental health pathway; and, testing new models of crisis care. A review of tier 4 services has also been conducted.

Finally, the group received an update from the HCAN Chair on the Transforming Care Programme. The programme is going well in adult services where NHS England is working closely with ADASS. The work is not as well advanced in children’s services and will come to an end in March 2019, therefore, NSH England are looking for increased engagement with ADCS to help shape the agenda. The committee raised concerns about capacity and funding;.

Outside of the committee meeting, the HCAN Chair has written to the DfE outlining concerns regarding the introduction of a national trial of the single route of redress for the First-tier Tribunal SEND. This will expand the powers of the First-tier Tribunal SEND to enable it to make non-binding recommendations on the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care Plans alongside the educational aspects. Concerns include: the limited funding available to LAs and CCG; the links with already established routes of redress and the role of the Local Government Ombudsman; managing the expectations of children, young people and families; the capacity of the tribunal system to deal with issues of health and social care; and, workforce development. An initial discussion has taken place and a further meeting will take place in December.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Update: SPI and RS Policy Committees - December 2017

Standards, Performance & Inspection and Resources & Sustainability Policy Committees

The Resources & Sustainability and the Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committees came together on Thursday 21 September in London. A rep from Ofsted joined the meeting to discuss the impact of regulation on placements in children’s homes after ADCS raised concerns with the inspectorate about this issue. Demand for placements is high and members noted a growing number of providers are turning down placement requests for high-risk children for fear of their actions impacting on inspection results. Colleagues raised concerns about the speed of notice given on some placements, particularly for children with high needs, and how this must feel for them. It was noted that Ofsted does not examine discharge processes in the same way as admissions and the group felt greater focus in this area could help.

During wide ranging discussions the group also touched on the growing number of private homes opening in areas with low cost housing rather than where the demand / need for greater capacity is required was touched upon as well as the planning issue in two tier authorities – applications are submitted to the district rather than the county council. Might there be an opportunity to close this loophole via Ofsted’s registration process? NHS Digital’s Chief Social Worker then joined the group to discuss the use of technology and data. Much of NHS Digital’s work is focussed on adults however there are several workstreams relating to children, young people and families.

The Department of Health (DoH) is investing £4.2 billion in digitalising the NHS, this may present an issue for children’s services as the social work profession is split and the oversight for children’s social work sits with the DfE not the DoH. The group reflected on the natural relationship between the health service and adult social care noting it is more difficult in children’s services as schools are critical to our work, as are the police. The group wondered if NHS Digital and/or the DoH needed to draw the DfE closer to this agenda to ensure children and young people benefit from this significant investment.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Update: FCYP and WD Policy Committees - December 2017

Families, Communities & Young People and Workforce Development Policy Committees

The Families, Communities & Young People and the Workforce Development Policy Committees met in Birmingham on Friday 29 September. The group was joined by a rep from the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) Social Work Reform Unit to provide an update on the progress of these important national reforms.

The first cohort of Practice Leaders have begun their training and applications for the second wave are now open. The programme is aimed at those who wish to become an assistant director for safeguarding, however, the group noted these roles often include wider children’s services and corporate responsibilities and this needs to be recognised by the programme.

In terms of the development of the Practice Supervisor role, the DfE is currently scoping out the tender for a lead supplier and has no plans to mandate participation. The group agreed that the transition from a frontline social worker to a supervisor is one of the most difficult to make so it is important to get this right. However, it was noted most LAs have already developed strong relationships with regional providers. The group queried why funds are not being devolved to local areas and/or regions to strengthen these arrangements or support improvement in areas where this provision is less developed? The DfE hope to address variability in provision by exercising central control. The group warned against the dangers of appointing a single, monolithic provider.

On the assessment and accreditation (NAAS) of social workers, the proof of concept phase threw up some significant concerns, not least around equality and diversity. The findings of this exercise have informed an updated model/framework which is now significantly different to the original. A further round of testing is planned - ‘Alpha Phase’ will go live in summer 2018 and ‘Beta Phase’ will go live in 2019. The group raised strong concerns about the ongoing delays around the development of NAAS and the lack of communications from the DfE which is contributing to disquiet across the workforce.

The group reviewed a recent briefing note produced by the Refugee Children’s Consortium on the national transfer scheme (NTS) set up to ensure responsibility for caring for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASCs) arriving in this country does not fall disproportionately on a handful of port authorities. Members agreed it provided a fair summary of the current state of play but felt it lacked a focus on children’s outcomes. In a wide-ranging discussion about regional arrangements multiple members reported dealings with the Home Office (HO) were frequently difficult and raised concerns about the HO grant not covering the full costs of caring for unaccompanied children. Delays in HO decision making about immigration status place a huge amount of stress on young people and more and more are going missing which is a huge concern. The NTS was established in the wake of a humanitarian crisis – the clearance of the migrant camps in Calais - and the immediacy of responding to this crisis has now passed. A period of reflection on the effectiveness and the ongoing suitability of these arrangements is required.

Ofsted recently published a thematic report on domestic abuse following a series of multiagency inspections. The group felt the tone of the report was helpful and the group was hopeful it will help to raise the profile of this issue on the national agenda once again given the prevalence of domestic abuse. A number of LAs are accessing different funding pots to address the prevalence of domestic abuse, securing funds from the relevant Police and Crime Commissioner or from public health budgets. This feedback was passed to Ofsted and the committee thanked them for the publication of a helpful report.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Update: EA and HCAN Policy Committees - December 2017

Educational Achievement and Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committees

The Educational Achievement and the Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committees met in Manchester on Friday 22 September. The Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board joined the group to discuss the rising numbers of care orders, greater use of special guardianship orders (SGOs), adopter recruitment and the development of regional adoption agencies. Discussions then turned to the expanded role of the virtual school head under the Children and Social Work Act (2017) to promote the educational achievement of children who have left care via adoption, SGO or child arrangement order. A consultation on draft guidance will take place later this year and final publication is expected in April 2018. The committee raised concerns about capacity and funding - some early estimates suggest the cohort the virtual school is working with could double or even treble in some areas and expectations are unclear about the levels of support potentially on offer at this stage.

The group then turned to progress on the implementation of the SEND reforms, identifying where the challenges and barriers remain in the system. All transfers to education, health and care plans (EHCPs) must be completed by 31 March 2018. Members voiced concerns about the government’s apparent prioritisation of quantity over quality and noted the ongoing demands placed on the workforce. Whilst there is a sense that the new arrangements, which require genuine co-production, are positive, the group agreed that there have been a number of unintended consequences of these reforms and costs are escalating as a result. LAs now hold a duty to provide for children and young adults with SEND up to the age of 25, however this is not resourced either via revenue or capital funding and accessing suitable post-16 provision and/or post-19 provision is a pinch point in many areas.

The committee felt that national education reforms have done little to support the inclusivity agenda in schools - home schooling numbers are going up as are fixed term and permanent exclusions which is impacting on SEND budgets as alternatives are often high cost and pressures on home-to-school transport budgets are mounting. Similarly, there are significant pressures on the capacity of the specialist school estate due to increased demand and a lack of capital investment, recent allocations from the DfE are wholly insufficient to address this issue. There are a number of national policy agendas which interface – integrated personal commissioning, personal budgets, transforming care etc which need to be brought together, not only locally but nationally by the Departments of Education and Health as well.

A rep from the DfE then joined the group to discuss elective home education. The numbers of children who are currently home schooled are unclear and the group suggested the national pupil database could usefully be interrogated to provide an indication of the numbers of pupils being off-rolled. The group raised a specific issue around SEND funding for children who are home schooled, there is a short guidance document on the .gov.uk website but LAs felt this required clarification with regards to meeting costs as queries frequently arise.

Little is known about the views of children and young people who are home schooled or their outcomes, the group also noted that more could usefully be done by Ofsted to look at the informal / illegal exclusions which result in children being educated at home as part of its school inspection activity. The group then turned to the issue of the ‘suitability’ of the home learning experience (which is open to significant interpretation). The importance of ensuring positive outcomes for children and supporting them to thrive was stressed.

The committee also reviewed a near-final version of the Association’s elective home education survey. The survey was circulated to all DCSs w/c 2 October for completion on school census day (5 October). The final deadline for responses was 27 October. The results of the survey have been shared with the ADCS members and key partners and stakeholders.

Outside of the committee meeting, the Chair of HCAN met with DfE officials to discuss the current and future challenges relating to the implementation of the SEND reforms. The importance of continued financial support by way of the SEND implementation grant was stressed along with other points raised by the committee


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Eastern Region Update - November 2017

County Lines Summit

A multi-agency ‘Eastern Region County Lines Summit’ is being planned for the end of November, involving senior managers and decision makers within:

  • Social care
  • Youth offending service
  • Police
  • Probation service
  • Police & crime commissioners
  • CCGs
  • Youth justice board
  • Children’s society.

The aim is to review the current national picture, look at recent developments and areas of emerging research or practice, and to encourage attendees to develop a high-level gangs’ strategy for the region. It is anticipated that about 50 attendees, representing all the local authority areas in the region, will participate in the summit.

Regional Priorities

Work continues to define the desired outcomes and work-stream activities in relation to the regional priorities:

  • SEND reforms, including improving attainment of vulnerable children
  • Audit and quality assurance
  • Sufficiency of placements and outcomes.

Regional Improvement Alliance

The region is piloting part of the Regional Improvement Alliance framework, covering:

  • The self-evaluation process review and template/guidance updates to reflect the requirements for ILACS, SEND and JTAI inspections
  • Core dataset identification and testing, incorporating qualitative measures of effectiveness, to assist in identifying outliers and indicate LAs that may need support
  • Governance and engagement tools that will help to identify, engage with, and support LAs who may be at risk of failing
  • The role of chief executives and lead members in governance arrangements.

Peer Review & Inspection:

  • Peer review training for a cohort of 24 colleagues from around the region was held in October. This was very well received, and a further course is being considered for the spring. The training is enhancing the resource pool of trained peer reviewers who will be available to conduct thematic peer reviews within and outside the region, as required
  • Essex and Suffolk have both piloted the new Ofsted ILACS inspection framework and their experience is being shared with other LAs in the region
  • Norfolk, the only Ofsted-rated ‘Inadequate’ authority in the region, is undergoing an Ofsted SIF re-inspection.

Data Benchmarking:

  • The quarterly tartan rug report continues to highlight comparative performance across all LAs in the region against a range of performance measures
  • Deep-dive benchmarking is being conducted into neglect, with narrative evidenced from a series of quality assurance audits undertaken in each LA.

Regional Networks:

  • The regular regional network meetings facilitated for social care ADs, workforce leads, LSCB chairs and business managers, QA leads, performance information management group, principal social workers, corporate parenting steering group and the leaving care network continue
  • We are extending the reach of sector-led improvement, incorporating the regional SEND network governance group and the school improvement leads network
  • We continue to collaborate with ADASS SLI to bring some of the adults’ and children’s network groups and activities together.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

East Midlands Regional Update - November 2017

Sector-Led Improvement Pilot

The region remains strongly committed to the further development of its approach to sector-led improvement. The region’s DCSs are keen to use the momentum provided by the DfE’s support for pilot activity, although anxious to strike a balance that retains leadership of the scheme within the sector.

In the past few weeks all nine LAs have completed a new self-evaluation template that has been developed to blend key performance information, signatures of risk/success and something of the Ofsted ILACS approach. The completed evaluations have been reviewed by improvement/performance colleagues and a mapping exercise of the issues, priorities, requests for help and offers of support has commenced. The region’s DCS group has now committed to strengthen these evaluations further through a new approach by holding challenge conversations between LA senior teams, working in triads. These will take place in December and January.

Peer Challenge

The region continues to provide challenge and support through its commitment to joint reviews. One LA has recently received a DCS-led review of their IRO and CP Conference arrangements. The reviewing team was made up of DCSs from three other LAs.

The region’s thematic SEND peer challenge scheme continues. Recent discussions have been held with colleagues from the West Midlands, Eastern region and NHS Central England about potential future collaboration across the wider geographical area. Training for a pool of potential reviewers is being provided in Birmingham in December.

Update on Previous Report

Work continues to develop and implement:

  • Qualified Social Work MoU
  • A regional framework for SEND CiC and SEND education placements
  • RAA in sub-regional areas.

Education

SSIF bids continue to strengthen the partnership approach to strategic planning for school improvement around the region and a higher number of applications was submitted in the recent round.

The desire in the region to interrogate pupil-level education data more flexibly remains strong, both to identify targeted needs within cross-border school clusters, and to enable deeper analysis of the characteristics of under-achieving groups. A data-development seminar is being held with Nexus in late November to explore the scope and scale of un-met data needs and look at developing solutions where possible.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Greater London Region Update - November 2017

Funding Pressures in Children’s Social Care and High Needs

In common with other regions, London DCSs continue to work with regional borough treasurers and chief executives on developing a deeper understanding of the financial pressures being experienced by children’s social care budgets and the High Needs Block. Analysis has revealed that London boroughs are experiencing a collective shortfall of £100 million in the High Needs Block, and £94 million in children’s social care. We are conducting further analysis to understand these pressures in greater depth, and plan to use the findings to support lobbying for greater investment in these services.

Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) Costs

A survey has been carried out to collect detailed data on the costs of supporting UASC. The survey findings were used to inform our region’s response to the Home Office review of the daily rate. Alongside this analysis, the region has undertaken a survey of the costs of supporting households with no recourse to public funds.

Regionalising Adoption

London has made significant progress in developing the service and financial model for a future Regional Adoption Agency. This has been vital to ensuring that directors in the region are assured that the new arrangements will deliver quality improvements as well as more efficiency. The London boroughs met in October to approve an outline business case for a hub and spoke model and are now working in the proposed sub-regional groupings to discuss the details of this model.

School Places

ALDCS, with London Councils, has been lobbying for greater investment in school places and a shift in the free schools’ programme including the need to limit the approval of schools to those that are in areas of demand. The region has also lobbied for greater investment for places for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). London Councils worked with ALDCS on ‘Do the Maths’, its latest report on school places planning, which was published in September 2017.

Child Death Review Arrangements

The region will be working with health partners to consider the most effective footprint of CDRs in London. This will include considering how best to ensure the timely identification of trends and collation of lessons learned; the balance between local, sector and pan London delivery and reporting; and opportunities for standardisation and the role of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

Children in Custody

We are working with the MPS to review our approach to providing accommodation to children denied bail. Directors will be aware that 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. A multi-agency working group has been set up to address this issue and is chaired by a DCS.

HMIC Safeguarding Inspection and the Introduction of the One Met Model

In the future ALDCS will consider the transformation opportunities available to the system and the longer-term relationship with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) given its transformation plans. The region is also actively working with the MPS on their improvement plans following the highly critical HMIC safeguarding inspection. A DCS is a member of the Gold Group overseeing the police response, and children’s social care and local safeguarding children boards are now represented on the range of groups set up by the police to take forward the HMIC recommendations. The most recent progress report from the HMIC acknowledged some progress but still identified serious concerns.

Sector-Led Improvement

Directors and assistant directors came together for a session on SLI on 18 September 2017 and discussions are now taking place to firm up plans for this work going forward.

Serious Youth Violence

Directors are planning a practice seminar to discuss and share best practice in relation to interventions for young people involved in knife crime and other forms of serious youth violence.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

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.

Education

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.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

NW Region Update Nov 2017 - Improving Social Care Practice and...

This update is dedicated to an ongoing example of our increasingly integrated and sophisticated approach to improving social care practice and systems across the region, working with key partners.

Background

The North West has a rising population of Children Looked After (CLA) and above average rates of children placed on care orders at home. As part of the region’s commitment to sector-led improvement and peer challenge, an in-depth multi-faceted approach has been agreed through the North West ADCS with both Ofsted and Cafcass.

Strands of Activity:

Data

Initial high-level data analysis was undertaken to ascertain prevalence, trend and proportion of CLA who are placed with parents as an initial first step. This analysis was utilised to prepare a regional data pack which was shared with all local Family Justice Boards and/or designated Family Judges in the region. To augment headline findings, a more detailed quantitative analysis was conducted to ascertain the characteristics of CLA subject to care orders at home, including age; factors at the end of assessment; and, their journey through the system including those ceasing to be CLA and/or experiencing placement moves. Through an embryonic partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, additional research themes are currently being scoped.

Practice and principles

To capture systematically the experiences and responses of both practitioners and managers, a head of service led task and finish group was convened. The group focussed on the system and practice issues which shaped and influenced the handling of cases where children were the subject of care orders and placed with their parents. It identified key considerations for practice in the following areas:

  • Thresholds - Legal Gateway, pre-proceedings, and threshold for removal not met
  • Evidence – including the use of pre-filing meetings prior to final evidence being filed
  • Cafcass - the role, contribution and influence of children’s guardians
  • Independent Review – the contribution of IROs in care orders at home cases
  • Legal advice – role and impact of local authority legal advice
  • Judiciary – judicial decision making including use of alternative orders and discharge
  • Positive use - circumstances when a care order at home should be considered
  • Diversionary practice - approaches predicated on avoidance/discharge of a care order at home
  • Research – use of research-informed assessment, planning and decision making
  • Case studies – identifying examples considered to show good practice.

Regional case file audit

As part of the programme of activity, the region embarked on its first whole-region thematic audit. Directors engaged business intelligence/analysis functions to select randomly three recent cases where children had been placed on full care orders at home with parents. The audits were conducted by a mixture of team managers, senior managers and IROs based within each local authority. All 23 local authorities returned audits that were used to inform the regional findings, with a total of 62 audits which were fit for purpose. Auditors were asked to evaluate the 12-month period prior to the final hearing at which the care order at home with parents was made. The cases were audited across nine domains:

  • Response to risk
  • Is the work child-centred?
  • Management oversight and decision making
  • Assessments
  • Co-ordination of agencies
  • Plans
  • Effectiveness of reviews
  • Quality of placement
  • Impact on children and young people.

Using the same child-level list, local Cafcass colleagues conducted a concurrent ‘dip sample’ approach to audit in order to bring an additional perspective and triangulate findings. LA and Cafcass audit outcomes are being collated and analysed by a lead LA quality assurance manager with themes prevalent in a high number of audits considered in the context of regional and national data and research. A comprehensive report is currently being finalised and will be presented to North West ADCS for consideration in order to shape local and regional strategic and practice responses.

Responding with partners

Through our increasingly established programme of ‘Better for Children’ seminars, we will work with Ofsted’s senior HMI, heads of service from Cafcass and a lead local authority to deliver an improvement seminar. With representatives from practice leadership and management; quality assurance functions; LA legal services; and Cafcass the session will identify learning from inspection, practice and audit activity and inform local and regional action planning. The session is due to be delivered on 5 December 2017.

Further information, including the nature of data collection, audit tools or other detail, please contact Paul Bunker, Regional Development Manager, NWADCS in the first instance paul.bunker@stockport.gov.uk It is hoped that wider system learning will be able to be shared more widely once the work is concluded and any action planning is completed.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South East Region Update - November 2017

• The South East DCS peer challenge for 2018 is proceeding, with a preparation and orientation day for 20 delegates planned for 22 November 2017. Four groups of three authorities will be involved

• Our project ‘Supporting Efficiency Savings’ is developing with colleagues from Oxfordshire providing a lead for the region

• Our SEND19 group has been active involving over half of our 19 authorities

Topical peer challenge Round 10 is proceeding with four new topical peer challenges

• The Regional Adoption Leadership Board continues to meet to maintain an oversight of developments in this area.

• The Children’s Social Care Workforce: Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) for Managing the Supply and Demand of Children’s Social Workers phases 1 and 2 is now operational

• Networks for assistant directors for safeguarding (or equivalent) and education (or equivalent) continue to provide mutual support.

For further details go to www.seslip.co.uk


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South West Region Update - November 2017

Self-Assessment Peer Challenge

All local authorities in the region are taking part in a self-assessment Peer Challenge on 1 December 2017. Most local authorities have completed the agreed regional self-assessment framework and are currently doing the analysis of the self-assessment of their allocated peer challenge partner. At the challenge event the local authority teams will be working in groups of three to conduct the peer challenge process. The outcomes and feedback from the self-assessment process will be themed to generate the region’s future priorities for improvement.

Regional Data Benchmarking

A regional data benchmarking report has now been established for the South West. The reporting system includes comparative quarterly ‘in-year’ data and all local authorities are participating. The reports are tailored to each local authority by detailing comparisons with statistical neighbours. A specification for the delivery of the project has been agreed with Bournemouth and the LGA is supporting the work through a regional grant. The report currently includes comparative regional data on an agreed indicator set and will also include a six-monthly narrative regional performance report.

Regional Summit 2017

The theme for the annual regional summit 2017 is ‘Getting the South West to good – Building a culture of regional learning’. The summit took place on Thursday 16 November 2017 and all local authorities sent delegate teams which equated to over 60 participants. Eleanor Schooling’s key note presentation was followed by workshops led by three directors exploring their local authority leadership strategies for improvement. The Spring Consortium supported the summit with presentations and workshops on the role of innovation in a self-improving system. The conference ended with workshops on developing a self-improving system for the South West.

Memorandum of Understanding on the Management of Children’s Social Workers

A review of the impact of the first year of the memorandum has now been undertaken. Detailed analysis of the agency workforce has shown that the MoU has, with very few exceptions, been upheld effectively. A project officer has now been appointed to further develop regional collaboration.

Thematic Priorities:

  • Preventing and tackling neglect - A thematic peer challenge programme is now well underway with three peer challenges taking place in the last three months. All local authorities have committed to undertake a ‘Neglect Peer Challenge’ by July 2018. Other activity has included the creation of a practice guide on neglect for social workers. The guide has details of the national picture, research and toolkits. Evaluation of neglect public awareness campaigns in the region have been circulated to foster regional learning and the sharing of good practice.
  • Improving outcomes for Children Looked After - A regional conference for designated teachers took place in October on the theme of ‘resilience’. Planning has started for a peer challenge framework for this thematic priority from September 2018.

Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Yorkshire & Humber Region Update - November 2017

Work Plan

The 2017/18 regional work plan for SLI emphasises:

  • Continued commitment to and investment in sector-led improvement
  • Greater rigour and accountability
  • Greater join up of regional processes, systems and structures
  • Focus on a few key regional issues in depth.

A wide range of activities continue to be commissioned:

Peer Challenge

30 LA/LSCB children’s services peer challenges have been completed (as of 1 September 2017). Internal and external evaluation has provided evidence of a process which makes a difference and is constantly being refined.

Round two peer challenge is almost complete, with 14/15 LAs either having received or being about to receive a challenge and DCSs have committed to round three.

A revised business process had been endorsed which brings greater rigour to the peer challenge process:

  • Peer challenge themes will normally link to areas for development as identified in self-assessment - see below
  • Peer challenge themes will have been endorsed by the receiving LA’s CX
  • Performance manager expertise is now drafted in to analyse data pre-challenge
  • There is an expectation of an action plan post-challenge, progress against which will be monitored by the lead peer challenger
  • Peer challenge outcomes will be distributed more widely to inform regional learning.

New business processes for peer challenge have been piloted and will be applied more broadly in 2017/18, to SEND and JTAI themes in particular. These provide complementary peer challenge models, which are less resource intensive than our ‘core’ model and are proving particularly useful as a means of engaging a range of LAs in a targeted challenge activity over a short period of time.

Our peer challenge business process has informed the development of peer challenge in the North East and across the National Association of Virtual Schools Heads.

The peer challenge training programme is a shortened version of the LGA Peer Review training programme. A further programme is planned in February 2018 which will concentrate on broadening our peer challenger base (70 challengers) to include a wider range of partners and technical expertise. Demand is high, and amongst nearly 30 applicants we have successfully recruited six CCG commissioners and other health service managers.

Self-Assessment/Systems Thinking

The business process for self-assessment is strongly embedded and has been further refined for 2017 to include:

  • A more focussed self-assessment document
  • The opportunity for LAs to track their respective strengths and areas for development over a three year period
  • An expectation of CX sign-off
  • A more focussed front door self-assessment. This has been developed as a result of an LGA supported Innovation Project and in anticipation of the emphasis on self-assessment in new inspection arrangements. The result is a more future-proofed self-assessment, closely linked to regulated processes.

Self-assessment submissions are made in November. A Challenge event is held in January to enable the validation of submissions and a summit event in March will help us reflect on the next steps for regional collaboration informed by self-assessment outcomes.

A regional capacity index is produced as a result of self-assessment and this year we have concentrated on addressing three key issues arising from this, (outcomes for vulnerable groups; KS1/2 performance and placement supply and sufficiency), through a facilitated programme of activity for three system-wide task and finish groups, each with a designated DCS link. SLI resources have also been made available for systems groups to bid into.

Leadership Development

The region runs a well-established Senior Leaders Programme (SLP), now delivered to cohort 8. Cohort 6 has completed the Aspirant Leaders Programme (ALP). These programmes are designed and delivered in-region, but take account of the leadership constructs and ideas shared on previous and current national programmes. Senior managers are utilised as tutors and the programmes are directed by the SLI coordinator. Demand remains strong for these programmes. There were approximately 25 participants on the SLP and 45 on the ALP including colleagues from adult services. Participants access an online 360-degree appraisal, which was updated for 2017 and is provided under licence by the Staff College.

These programmes were externally evaluated in 2015/16 and the conclusions mirrored internal evaluation which indicates high levels of impact on leadership practice.

DCSs have asked that there are programmes to support the ongoing development of past participants as well as continuing to offer further SLP/ALP programmes. Over the last three years more than 300 managers have experienced the SLP/ALP programmes, and we are devising regional activity to support their ongoing development. This will include opportunities for alumni to engage in peer challenge; support the work streams underpinning our three key themes (see above), have access to masterclass workshops and structured networking activities. As well as developing regional opportunities, LAs are being encouraged to think about how they can best capitalise on the knowledge and skills of their own leadership ‘alumni’ (sometimes over 25 managers).

Partnerships

Strong links have been established with NHS England around the children’s mental health agenda, with the regional children’s services SLI Coordinator, also the LA Advisor on the regional children’s mental health team (0.2 FTE), helping to secure links between LA activity and the children’s mental health agenda. This has resulted in strong LA engagement in the development of a regional mental health dataset and also in relation to the development of a mental health competency framework now being piloted in over 50 learning institutions. In 2017, a lead DCS has been identified as children’s mental health champion. Regular meetings between the DCS lead, the regional executive lead for NHS England and the LA advisor enable shared issues and opportunities to be explored.

Regionalisation of Adoption

Work continues in Yorkshire and Humber on the regionalisation of adoption to deliver the planned hub and spoke model. The central hub has been established. Of the three proposed sub-regional adoption agencies, West is now live and work is ongoing in the South, North and East.

Children Social Work Matters (CSWM)

The web-based CSWM continues to develop to promote social work in the region. Hits on the public site continue to increase. The numbers of actively engaged children’s social workers and managers in the learning portal site is also growing. Webinars continue to be popular as is the daily news feed and LA news pages. Social workers in the region can now download the CSWM app to their phones. A second festival of social work conference will take place in November 2017 providing an opportunity for practitioners across the region to engage in practice and knowledge exchange.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

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.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Future ADCS Vice President

Future ADCS Vice President

Commenting in CYP Now Alison Michalska, President of ADCS, said:

“I am delighted that Rachel will be taking up the important role of ADCS Vice President in April. Children’s services are facing some of their most pressing challenges so it’s vital that the sector has a strong, unified and consistent voice which places children at the heart of the national agenda. I am confident that Rachel will embrace the variety of challenges and opportunities the role will bring.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

ADCS Vice President 2018/19

Rachel Dickinson
Rachel Dickinson

Rachel Dickinson, Executive Director People, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council has been appointed as the next ADCS Vice President, starting April 2018.

Rachel will become ADCS President in April 2019.

Commenting on Rachel’s appointment in CYP Now, Alison Michalska, current ADCS President, said:

“I am delighted that Rachel will be taking up the important role of ADCS Vice President in April. Children’s services are facing some of their most pressing challenges so it’s vital that the sector has a strong, unified and consistent voice which places children at the heart of the national agenda. I am confident that Rachel will embrace the variety of challenges and opportunities the role will bring.”


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Minister Goodwill speech at NCASC 2017

Minister of State for Children and Families, Robert Goodwill, delivered a keynote speech to the 2017 National Children and Adult Services Conference in Bournemouth. A transcript of the speech can be found via the link below.

View speech


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Speech - A country that works for all children

Alison Michalska speech at A country that works for all children session at the National Children and Adult Services Conference 2017, Bournemouth.

View speech

The ADCS report A country that works for all children can be found here.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

ADCS President’s Speech NCASC 2017

ADCS President - Alison Michalska’s - opening address to National Children and Adult Services Conference 2017

View speech


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

A Country That Works For All Children

A country that works for all children explores the impact of different initiatives and policies on children’s lives and outcomes, touching on child poverty, welfare reforms, the impact of austerity across the breadth of children’s services, including schools, and early help. The paper calls for a marshalling of resources across the various government departments, a reaffirmation of the value of preventative services and the establishment of a cross-government review to understand better the reasons for, and links between, rising levels of child poverty and demand for children’s statutory services.

View the position paper





Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

A country that works for all children - press release

ADCS launches new policy paper

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) today publishes a new policy position paper outlining its view on what a country that works for all children looks like.

The paper highlights the issues in current public policy, including the impact of austerity and an increasingly fragmented approach to public services, overlaid with rising levels of child poverty that are cumulatively having a negative impact on children and families. The paper sets out a clear way forward to improve services and outcomes for children, young people and their families and includes a number of priority action areas for government.

Local authorities are committed to providing high quality services for vulnerable children and their families but this is becoming increasingly tough. On average local authority budgets have reduced by 40% since 2010. Local authorities have worked hard to minimise the impact of these cuts on our communities by redesigning and reshaping their services and finding innovative solutions to do more with less, but non-statutory services such as children’s centres and youth services have had to be significantly scaled back or cut altogether as a result. LGA colleagues have estimated that children’s services face a £2bn funding gap by 2020. A gap that if ignored will seriously compromise our ability to prevent problems from escalating to the point of crisis and result in the needs of children and families being left unmet.

Alison Michalska, ADCS President, said: “How we care for, educate and support our children today is an indication of how successful our country will be tomorrow. Sadly, the reality for a growing number of children and their families is bleak. There are currently four million children living in poverty, a rising number of families relying on food banks and an increasing number of children are going hungry yet not enough national attention or resources are being focused on preventing these or other issues that children and young people face today. Poverty damages childhoods; it damages life chances; and it damages the economic prosperity of our country. Children living in poverty are more likely to have poorer health outcomes than those living in less deprived communities as well as poorer nutrition both of which affect their ability to learn both academically and socially. The government has consistently stated its ambition to build ‘a country that works for everyone’, to achieve this aim ADCS members believe we must first start with ‘a country that works for all children’.

She went on to say: “Financial pressures in children’s services and other public agencies, especially the NHS, police and education, alongside reforms in health, education, social care, welfare and youth and community policy are all taking their toll on our communities. A country that works for children is good for adults, the economy and public services too. Providing help and support to children and families early is the only way to reduce demand for high end statutory services and health and social care in the long run, not doing so is a false economy and, fundamentally, is not in children and young people’s best interests. In a country that works for all children meeting children’s needs and improving their outcomes would be at the core of all public policy. Government would take a long-term strategic view of how we invest in our public services, particularly early help services. This is what we should aspire for, this is what our children truly deserve.

Alison Michalska concluded: “There is a clear and urgent need to do things differently and this must start with the government using the autumn Budget to reaffirm their commitment to children and young people. We must build a country that works for all children – without this the scale of human and financial costs in years to come will be devastating.”

The full ADCS policy position paper, ‘A country that works for all children’, can be found here.

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

President’s NCASC Speech - Press Release

ADCS President’s opening address National Children and Adult Services Conference

On Wednesday 11 October 2017, Alison Michalska, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) gave her opening address at the National Children and Adult Services (NCAS) conference in Bournemouth.

On deprivation

“We are I think, I hope, beginning to see a move away from some aspects of austerity but families living in deprived areas will continue to suffer unless some flexibility can be introduced to the benefits regime. ADCS has today published a new policy position paper, ‘A country that works for all children’, which highlights the issues in current public policy, including the impact of austerity and an increasingly fragmented approach to public services overlaid with poverty, that are cumulatively having a negative impact on children and their families.”

On supporting migrant and asylum seeking children and families

“This is a massive challenge for us all. Nevertheless, it is a moral duty to support people fleeing from unimaginable horrors. It’s hard to know with precision just how much money local government spends every year supporting families who have no recourse to public funds we think it entirely possible that this figure is well over £100 million a year. These vulnerable families have no legal entitlement to financial support or assistance from the state. But councils cannot and will not leave these families in destitution.”

On systems leadership

“Improved outcomes for children must be the golden thread running through government policy and I include in that Brexit negotiations. Indeed, it must be the foundation of building a country that works for all children. I was asked recently at a conference I was speaking at, what would be the one thing I would ask of the Prime Minister if she was in the room. The answer was easy…please Prime Minister will you be a systems leader for children across government, exerting your influence in the interests of children. I would like the Prime Minister to be a ‘super-DCS’ seeking policy coordination and the marshalling of resources from across the multitude of central government departments with responsibilities for aspects of children’s lives.”

On sector-led improvement

“ADCS, the LGA and Solace have been working together on a proposition for the creation of a trusted and coherent sector-led improvement model in children’s services. A model that not only catches authorities before they fall, but also matches the strengths and areas for development in authorities on an improvement trajectory. Every council has something to give and every council has something to learn regardless of the dangerously over-simplistic one-word judgement labels bestowed upon them by Ofsted. The expertise and the skills required to improve children’s services lie within the sector itself but the sector needs resourcing so it can build capacity that can be released and shared safely and we are talking to the DfE about this.”

The full speech can be found here

The ADCS policy position paper, ‘A country that works for all children’, can be fo on the ADCS website - www.adcs.org.uk< p="">

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Yorkshire and Humber Region Update - September 2017

Work Plan

A 2017/18 regional work plan for SLI emphasises:

  • Continued commitment to and investment in sector-led improvement
  • Greater rigour and accountability
  • Greater join up of regional processes, systems and structures
  • Focus on a few key regional issues in depth.

A wide range of activities continue to be commissioned:

Peer Challenge

  • 31 LA/LSCB children’s services peer challenges have been completed (as at 1 August 2017). These use a business process which involves a team of four, led by a DCS, spending three days in total in an LA, focussing on a theme identified by the receiving LA (but scoped in partnership with the lead DCS) and then producing a presentation and letter describing strengths and areas for consideration. Internal and external evaluation has provided evidence of a process which makes a difference and is constantly being refined. Round 2 peer challenge is almost complete (12/15) and we are anticipating that nearly all LAs will have had two peer challenges by the end of 2017/18 and about three or four will have had three
  • A revised business process for peer challenge has brought even greater rigour to the process. Enhanced features include: peer challenge themes will normally be expected to link to areas for development as identified in self-assessment; performance manager expertise drafted in to analyse data pre-challenge; expectation of an action plan post challenge, progress against which will be monitored by the lead peer challenger and wider distribution of peer challenge outcomes to inform regional learning
  • Our peer challenge business process has informed the development of peer challenge in the North East and across the National Association of Virtual School Heads
  • Alternative business processes for peer challenge have been piloted. These are less resource intensive than our core peer challenge model and can enable several LAs to be challenged concurrently. They include self-assessment, analysis by another LA and a challenge event. These have been used in relation to JTAI themes and are being developed for SEND (Note: these processes are intended to complement, rather than replace the well-established regional peer challenge model as described above)
  • The peer challenge training programme is a shortened version of the LGA Peer Review training programme. A further programme is planned in February 2018 which will concentrate on broadening our peer challenger base (70 challengers) to include a wider range of partners and technical expertise.

Self-Assessment

The business process for self-assessment is strongly embedded and was further refined for 2016/17 to include a shortened self-assessment document and the opportunity for LAs to track their respective strengths and areas for development over a three-year period. (Feedback on these developments has been very positive). DCSs have confirmed their commitment to repeating this process for 2017/18.

A regional capacity Index has been produced as a result of self-assessment and in 2017/18 we will concentrate on addressing three key issues arising from this, (outcomes for vulnerable groups; KS1/2 performance; and, placement supply and sufficiency) through system wide task and finish groups, each with a designated DCS link.

Self-assessment submissions are made in November, a Challenge event is held in January to enable the validation of submissions and a summit event in March will help us reflect on next steps for regional collaboration informed by self-assessment outcomes.

Regional Data Analysis

A regional dataset is maintained by Sheffield City Council, which brings together information from education and social care datasets and has produced customised data for the region on the achievement of children in care. This informs annual self-assessment processes.

Leadership Development

The region runs a well-established Senior Leaders Programme (SLP), now completed with Cohort 8. Cohort 6 hs just completed the Aspirant Leaders Programme (ALP). These programmes are designed and delivered in-region, but take account of the leadership constructs and ideas shared on previous and current national programmes. Senior managers are utilised as tutors and the programmes are directed by the SLI coordinator. Demand has now stabilised for these programmes (after a spike in 2016). There were approximately 25 participants on the SLP and 45 on the ALP including colleagues from adult services. Participants access an online 360-degree appraisal, which has been updated for 2017 and is provided under licence by the Staff College.

These programmes were externally evaluated in 2015/16 and the conclusions, which mirrored internal evaluation, indicate high levels of impact on leadership practice.

DCSs are interested in seeing programmes to support the ongoing development of past participants as well as continuing to offer further SLP/ALP programmes. A menu of alumni opportunities, informed by feedback from previous participants, is being considered by DCSs before activity is commissioned.

A systems thinking programme was commissioned in 2014/15, repeated in 2015/16 and is running again in 2017. Four LAs are engaged in this, addressing locally identified systems issues. This programme is led by the Staff College and has received highly positive evaluation.

Three Key Themes

The three key issues for the region, as identified through self-assessment, are being tackled through a systems wide approach. We have brought together colleagues from a range of regional groups to work across group structures to scope and address these themes within a framework of several systems workshops which we have commissioned the Staff College to facilitate. Participants will be exposed to systems approaches and systems thinking and apply that theory and practice to the respective themes.

Partnerships

Strong links have been established with NHS England around the children’s mental health agenda, with the regional children’s services SLI Coordinator also a member of the regional children’s mental health team (0.2 FTE). In 2017, a lead DCS has been identified as children’s mental health champion.

Regionalisation of Adoption

Work continues in Yorkshire and Humber on the regionalisation of adoption to deliver the planned hub and spoke model. The central hub has been established. Of the three proposed sub-regional adoption agencies, West is now live, work is ongoing in the South and in the North and East.

Children Social Work Matters (CSWM)

The web-based CSWM continues to develop to promote social work in the region. Hits on the public site continue to increase. The number of actively engaged children’s social workers and managers in the learning portal site is also growing. Webinars continue to be popular as is the daily news feed and LA news pages. Social workers in the region can now download the CSWM app to their phones. A second festival of social work conference will take place in November 2017 providing an opportunity for practitioners across the region to engage in practice and knowledge exchange. Proposals are being considered to promote the site and profession even further by: aligning the CSWM website with the Teaching Partnerships; developing a Y&H foster carers on-line training and knowledge portal, as part of a recruitment and retention strategy for LA foster carers in the region; and, social workers using CSWM to record their CPD.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

West Midlands Region Update - September 2017

As reported in our last update, the West Midlands strategic approach has resulted in the recalibration of the infrastructure and communications around our strategic priorities as part of our ambitious plans for improvement. This work has been boosted since the last update:

FutureSocial

The region has been awarded up to £1.5m from the Innovation Fund to innovate in children’s social worker planning, recruitment, retention, development and career progression. All 14 WM authorities are signed up to this as a committed, caring and courageous workforce is central to our ambitious outcomes for children in the region by 2021. Our analysis to date has shown us how interlinked the workforce is through the region. We are well on with Phase 1 and a business case for this is in the process of being signed off following a recent meeting with the department.

In June, we co-hosted the national ‘What’s the Protocol’ conference with the LGA. This highlighted the number of similar issues that LAs are all grappling with, particularly in retention. Our plan is that FutureSocial will aid national learning.

Regional Improvement Alliance Pilot

We are also pleased to be one of the three pilots for the regional improvement alliance work. This enables us to test out several aspects of system level improvement. It will include the new opportunities and challenges introduced by around 20% of the councils in our region moving into or thinking about trusts/alternative delivery models. For our pilot, we are working closely with the LGA to ensure that the improvement work happens within the broader political and corporate context; our learning is clear and that children’s services thrive in strong and effective organisations.

Prevention and Resilient Communities

The West Midlands ADCS is working closely with the combined authority, KPMG and partners to consider new options and models for improving the outcomes and wellbeing of children and families throughout the West Midlands. Although in its early development this will provide a real catalyst for change, learning and development with a strategic focus on prevention and resilient communities.

Performance Profile

Having been in a bleak position this time last year, with a number of councils in intervention, we are pleased with the gradually improving profile. Coventry has moved into ‘Requires Improvement’, Birmingham and Dudley continue to improve, Wolverhampton has been judged ‘Good’ and Staffordshire has had a positive pilot inspection. We have also seen improvements in authorities who have commissioned and received support from a variety of peer sources.

We are currently analysing this year’s education outcomes to assess the impact we are beginning to have on our previous poor comparative outcomes. We have taken a strategic approach to the Strategic School Improvement Fund bids and will be working with the Regional Schools Commissioner as a region as well as through the RSC sub-regions.

Challenges

Like many other regions, we are concerned by the current and medium-term funding outlook. There is significant pressure on schools’ budgets, home to school transport, particularly for children with disabilities and some big challenges in addressing special educational needs. Over the coming months we will be exploring which collaborative work could make a positive difference.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South West Region Update - September 2017

Regional Summit – ‘Getting the South West to Good – Building a Culture of Regional Learning’

The annual South West regional summit will focus on sharing good practice, both regionally and nationally, and exploring effective leadership strategies to sustain service improvement. The summit will feature inspiring inputs from local authorities, partner organisations and guest speakers and will give an opportunity for delegates to shape a regional self – improving system. All local authorities will be sending four delegates to the summit.

Self-Assessment Peer Challenge

In anticipation of the new Ofsted inspection arrangements the director group has introduced a new self-assessment framework for the South West. The framework provides a structure for self-assessment across the whole of children’s services activity with a ‘challenge’ event from peer local authorities. The timescale for completion of the self-assessment is in September 2017 with the challenge event taking place on the 1st December 2017. All the region’s 16 local authorities are planning to participate.

Regional Data Benchmarking

A South West data benchmarking system has now been established sharing both annual data and quarterly ‘in-year’ data. The regional benchmarking reports have been compiled as an additional resource for local authorities to use comparator data sources to improve understanding of performance trends in children’s services. The regional data will also form the foundation for the South West to develop a self-improving system where concerning trends in performance can be identified early and supportive actions put in place. The reports have been distributed to the performance leads in each local authority and are now available for local analysis.

Thematic Priorities

• Preventing and Tackling Neglect – All local authorities are planning to undertake the Neglect Peer Challenge before July 2018. The first pairing of local authorities is taking the challenge in September and October with the whole programme due to be confirmed in September 2017

• Improving Outcomes for Looked after Children – A regional conference for designated teachers is taking place in October; the theme is ‘resilience’.

Workforce Development

The Recruitment and Retention working group is collating data on the impact of the implementation of the ‘Memorandum of Co-operation’ which was agreed in July 2016. The ‘MoC’ introduced a regionally agreed pay cap for agency social workers and introduced a regional employer reference protocol. A presentation to directors is planned for September 2017 and further actions on regional workforce development will be agreed.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South East Region Update - September 2017

Social Care

We have been continuing the dialogue around unaccompanied asylum seekers with the South East Migration Partnership. This work, which has involved meeting with Home Office and Department for Education representatives, has resulted in a consultation being launched to consider establishing a formal regional rota for the dispersal of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Ofsted

There is currently dialogue taking place with the Ofsted Regional Director to refresh the annual conversation that LAs have with him with the aim of ensuring that the meeting adds value and properly covers the breadth of the DCS role. All LAs across the South East have now received a SIF inspection.

Education

We have continued our engagement with Ofsted through regular meetings with the Regional Director and with one of our Regional Schools Commissioners (RSC). For the first time we have met together with Ofsted and the RSC to explore issues of mutual interest. Part of the discussion has centred on a shared concern about the status and support for a school that has an Academy Order in place but no identified sponsor.

Sector-Led Improvement

• We are progressing with our project ‘Improving the quality of audit in the field’, working with QA/audit managers

• The first of the SE DCS Peer Challenges has now been evaluated and the second round is being planned. A training day is taking place in November. This programme involves three LAs linking up with a programme of self-assessment, followed by a challenge meeting and then a focussed peer challenge visit

• We have continued with the Data Benchmarking Group and the latest set of quarterly reports have been produced and distributed. New quarterly reports have been developed for adoption, early help and SEND indicators

Regional Adoption Leadership Board: This continues to meet to maintain an oversight of developments in this area

• The SEND 19 Group has published “Inspection Preparation: Self Evaluation Framework Peer Review Guidance

• Networks for assistant directors for safeguarding (or equivalent) and education (or equivalent) continue to provide mutual support. The safeguarding group is working on an Efficiencies Project, focussing on identifying and sharing successful initiatives that have reduced costs without loss of quality of care

Further details are provided on www.seslip.co.uk.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

North West Region Update - September 2017

Sector - Led Improvement Offer in the NW

The comprehensive programme of sector led support in the region has now been compiled into a SLI offer for 2017/18.

Strengthening the SLI Offer in the NW

Following the review of SLI provision undertaken by Ben Bryant from the ISOS Partnership the programme has been strengthened in a number of ways. View Action Plan

The key actions include:

Education

The North West School Improvement Partnership infrastructure with its sub-regional groups provided a strong basis for the development of Round 1 SSIF bids. Recent announcements have proven this to be a successful model and augur well for future rounds.

Regional Audit – Children Placed on Care Orders with Parents

Work to develop the Children’s Social Care SLI programme through a model that mirrors the Putting Children First pillars, has been identified as a major area of concern in the NW. It links in part to judicial decision making in some parts of the region. Senior judges, the regional IRO forum and CAFCASS are also engaged with and support the work, which has successfully engaged all 23 councils. The findings will also form part of the regional ‘Getting to Good’ event in December which will be run jointly with Ofsted. The audit work has commenced and a final report will be completed in time for this work by the end of November.

Exclusions Survey

Following increasing concerns nationally about exclusions, the NWADCS school improvement sub-group agreed in June to undertake a quick survey of the issues in the North West. All 23 LAs completed the survey. Details of the key headlines from the survey are available.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

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.

Education

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.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Greater London Region Update - September 2017

Funding Pressures in Children’s Social Care and High Needs

In common with other regions, London DCSs continue to work with regional Borough Treasurers and Chief Executives on developing a deeper understanding of the financial pressures being experienced by children’s social care budgets and the high needs block issues. Recent analysis across the London boroughs has revealed that overspends on children’s social care are even higher than that on adult social care in the majority of councils in the region. The analysis has also highlighted an overspend of £94 million on the high needs block across the region. We are hopeful that this analysis will provide a robust evidence base to support the call for further investment in high needs and children’s social care.

Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) Costs

A survey has been carried out to collect detailed data on placement costs for UASC across the region. A further survey is being undertaken to gain a more detailed understanding of the non-placement costs of providing services to UASCs. As ever we hope these analyses will inform the Home Office’s current review of daily funding rates.

Regionalising Adoption

London is continuing to develop the service and financial model for a future Regional Adoption Agency. These activities are critical to providing confidence to DCSs in the region that the proposition will deliver quality improvements, greater efficiency, as well as ensuring that officials in the DfE are able to understand the future of adoption in London. We have been looking at and hopefully learning from other regions who are further down the development path.

Child Death Review Arrangements

The region will be working with the Healthy London Partnership to consider the most effective footprint of CDRs in London. This will include considering how best to ensure timely identification of trends and collation of lessons learned; the balance between local, sector and pan-London delivery and reporting; and opportunities for standardisation and the role of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

Children in Custody

We are working with the MPS to reduce the number of children held in custody. A multi-agency meeting has been set up to address this issue and is chaired by a DCS. It has met once and work has started to enable the MPS to share the details of children held in custody with the appropriate boroughs.

HMIC Safeguarding Inspection and the Introduction of the One Met Model

In the future ALDCS will be considering transformation opportunities available to the system and the longer-term relationship with the MPS given its transformation plans. We are also actively working with them on their improvement plans following the highly critical HMIC safeguarding inspection. A DCS is a member of the Gold Group overseeing the police response, and children’s social care and local safeguarding children boards are now represented on the range of groups set up by the police to take forward the HMIC recommendations. The most recent report from the HMIC acknowledged some progress but still identified serious concerns.

Sector-Led Improvement

DCSs and ADs are coming together for a session on SLI on September 18th involving the LGA and potential input from another region. We are analysing our dataset to consider sector-led improvement priorities and how we further develop effective peer challenge and support.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

East Midlands Region Update - September 2017

Sector-Led Improvement Pilot

The region has agreed to take part in the pilot of a refreshed approach to sector-led improvement. Although several elements are already well tried and tested in the region, there is considerable enthusiasm to see the approach extend beyond diagnosis and challenge into the brokering of collaborative improvement. Discussions are now well underway and the autumn period should see the development of regional processes.

Peer Challenge

In this period, just one LA has received a regional SEND Peer Challenge. Preparations are well underway for another LA in the region to receive a DCS led review of their IRO and CP Conference arrangements.

The 2nd Tier safeguarding leads network is committed to continuing its support for the quality assurance of front-door arrangements through a peer challenge approach.

SEND Commissioning

The region’s Commissioning Champions group has agreed a methodology and pooled funding arrangement for the scoping and potential development of a regional framework for SEND CiC and SEND education placements. This is identified as a collaborative need where there are high costs and insufficient provision. It is anticipated that a joint approach will enable better management of cost and quality.

Qualified Social Worker MoU

Work to address the improvement of social work and the reduction of unreasonable agency costs continues to move forward. A part time project worker has now been appointed to lead the work and create more capacity for the project. There remains high commitment to this joint approach, even though there are occasional instances of exceptional pressure that can make it a challenge. The discussion continues around the potential for a form of supernumerary staffing on a (sub) regional basis that could take some of the demand pressures out of the system.

Mapping the Most Effective Early Interventions

An analysis of LA returns has been carried out to determine the most effective approaches of getting early help to families and intervening early. This has led to some interesting discussions and indicates great potential for possible future partnership developments. The analysis indicated that almost all LAs utilise and are most highly committed to the following at the core of their approach:

• Some version of Signs of Safety or similar systemic practice therapy programme

• Intervention that combines a sociological and psychological perspective

• Some form of intensive parenting programme.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

This has been a quieter period due to both slightly fewer new arrivals and the breakdown in the region of the national transfer scheme.

Education

The introduction of the Strategic School Improvement Fund (SSIF) has provided both a challenge and opportunity for the range of education partners to work together to bid for school improvement funding. This has created a positive catalyst for many partnerships with almost every SSIF application being a collaborative proposal in which LAs, Teaching Schools and MATs planned together. There was a ‘better than average’ SSIF success ratio in the EM region which reflects positively on the growing maturity of these local education partnerships.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Eastern Region Update - September 2017

Self-Assessment, Peer Challenge and Review

• The annual self-assessment process for 2017 has now concluded:

o Local Authorities have completed their self-assessments

o Moderation has been conducted by a team of volunteers from across the region

o Moderation comments and the self-assessment have been reviewed by two DCS colleagues to peer challenge the author DCS at an event during the summer

o Peer challenge has also been used to identify new/revised SLI priority areas for the coming year

o The self-assessment template for 2018 will be reviewed/amended later in the year.

• A training course is being held for a cohort of 24 new peer reviewers. The aim is to extend and refresh the pool of peer reviewers who are available in the region to conduct thematic peer review audits

• The regional data benchmarking project continues. A quarterly ‘tartan rug’ report, highlighting comparative performance across all LAs against a range of performance measures, is prepared and disseminated widely. A Section 20 benchmarking exercise has been completed. The next planned benchmarking exercise will be around neglect; in addition to data capture and analysis, this will include a summary of audit outcomes for neglect cases.

Regional Priorities:

Doing things differently

• A regional event was held in June for about 80 colleagues from around the region, at which every LA in the region showcased key areas of innovation and improvement by holding workshops/presentations, together with keynote addresses. The key themes were:

o Innovations in safeguarding

o Vulnerable adolescents

o Future education arrangements and improving attainment

o Radicalisation & extremism

o SEND reforms

o Managing demand

o Commissioning.

• The Leaving Care network hosted an event for 60 attendees to share best practice and learning relating to ‘Keep on Caring’

• The new SLI website is live and content is being added.

Improving attainment of vulnerable children especially around KS2

• School improvement leads and headteachers have reviewed core issues and current local strategies

• A data dashboard has been prepared to help pinpoint key areas for improvement; four work streams have been identified and workshops are planned to focus on each one from a regional perspective

• A piece of work has been commissioned to map how each of the 11 LAs in the region is responding to the pressures arising from the changes taking place in school’s funding. It encompasses LA service structures, school engagement, academy conversion, traded services, SEND, alternative provision and virtual school.

New regional priorities

• The annual self-assessment process was used to reinforce the current priorities and/or identify new regional priorities for the following year. These are:

o Audit and quality assurance

o SEND reforms, including narrowing the gap and improving attainment for vulnerable children

o Sufficiency of placements and outcomes

• DCS and AD leads are being identified for each priority area and work stream activity/outcomes will be planned.

Regional Networks

• A full programme of regular network meetings are supported for SLI governance groups / AD network / LSCB chairs and business managers / workforce leads / principal social workers / QA leads / performance information management group / corporate parenting steering group / Leaving Care Network

• There is now a SEND peer network that is operational within the region.

• There is increased collaboration with ADASS SLI coordinator regarding the interface between leaving care and transition to adulthood.

Other Regional Activity:

Regional adoption agency development

The work to develop regional adoption agencies within the region continues.

UASC national transfer scheme

A rota scheme is operating within the region to enable equitable transfer/dispersal of UASC between all local authorities in liaison with the Strategic Migration Partnership.

New lead members

During the next quarter, we will be discussing with Eastern Region LGA the process for making new lead members aware of the SLI programme.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Comment on new school information regulations

Commenting on a recent duty placed on local authorities in relation to raising awareness of university technical colleges (UTCs) with pupils and their families, Alison Michalska, ADCS President, said:

“Local authorities have a duty to promote education options for children and young people in their local areas, most do this via their website. Changes to regulations regarding school information earlier this year mean that local authorities must now write to parents to tell them about the option for their child to leave school aged 14 to attend a local university technical college or studio school, as this represents a new burden for already stretched council budgets this funding goes towards the costs of this activity. Where it is possible local authorities will always use the cheapest form of communication such as email however some will have to write out to parents.”

Ends


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

ADCS and Cafcass agreement about social work in care proceedings

A spokesperson for ADCS and Cafcass said:

“The agreement between ADCS and Cafcass about how local authorities and Cafcass can work effectively in a set of care proceedings and pre-proceedings was developed with the intention of improving the standard of social work and tackling delays in the family court. The document was never intended to undermine the independence of children’s guardians, nor was it intended to shut out parents or their representatives from due process within proceedings. Due to concerns raised by some stakeholders we took the decision to withdraw the document in question. ADCS and Cafcass regularly promote good practice throughout the social work sector and will continue to look for ways we can work effectively in the best interests of children and their families.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

ADCS response to ‘Revolving Door’ report

Responding to a new report by Action for Children, Alison Michalska, ADCS President, said:

“It’s important that children and families receive the right support at the right time and this is not always done via formal intervention from children’s services. Following a referral, a thorough assessment is undertaken and where there are no further concerns or where the threshold for statutory support is not reached it is common for children and families to be signposted to other support services such as children’s centres, youth services and parenting programmes. It is in the best interest of children and families that we provide support at an earlier stage to prevent problems reaching crisis point. But this is getting harder to do as early help and preventative services have faced the brunt of government cuts.

“The impact of seven years of austerity and rising demand on the vital services we provide to children, young people and families cannot be underestimated. Councils are working hard to reduce costs, make savings and minimise the impact of cuts on the communities that we serve by reshaping services and harnessing capacity within the local community amongst other things. But reductions in early help and preventative services have been necessary in order to balance the books. Colleagues at the LGA estimate that children’s services face an expected funding gap of £2bn by 2020. If we are to create a country that works for all children government must recognise the funding crisis of the moment. Without this our ability to protect children and young people from harm will be seriously compromised.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

President’s speech at annual conference - Press Release

President’s address at the ADCS Annual Conference 2017

On Thursday 6 July 2017, Alison Michalska, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) gave her address at the ADCS Annual Conference in Manchester.

On resourcing a country that works for all children

“Children’s services are enduring relentless pressure as funding decreases whilst demand most definitely does not. The task of balancing council budgets is tougher than ever before as we simultaneously seek to manage demand, reduce spending and improve outcomes. To protect vital statutory services, early help and preventative services have, in some places, been severely reduced despite our desire to help children and young people by intervening early. Add to this the factors outside of our direct influence that increase demand on our services and strapped resources including a lack of affordable housing and rising levels of child poverty. It is unsurprising, therefore that the funding gap for children’s services is as big, if not bigger than that of adult social care. The LGA estimates that the funding gap in children’s services is likely to be £2bn by 2020. This gap needs to be plugged and it should be done, like all good social work assessments, on a needs basis. The future resourcing of children’s services should connect need with funding.

“Without additional resources this figure will continue to increase as the pressures facing children’s services, and the demands on our partners deepen. I know that government will want to do the right thing by children. ADCS urges government to think big, think system wide and think prevention. We urge priority action across government so that resources for children are marshalled with a view to achieving a cross-party, long term, coherent, strategic whole system approach to helping early everywhere, premised upon an inclusive ‘societal’ vision for all ages, abilities and communities of children.”

On early help and prevention

“It is estimated that there are 4 million children living in poverty – that’s almost one third of the total child population. A growing number of those children live in working households; this is a relatively new phenomenon, exacerbated by insecure jobs and an inflexible welfare regime. We should support and supplement families’ endeavours, especially when parenting difficulties are compounded by poverty and deprivation, rather than pathologizing their needs for early help. The most effective way of doing so is to prioritise and therefore resource, universalist, preventative children’s services. Some may think this is a backwards step, harking back to the days of every child matters. Well, the past can illuminate the present, every child does matter. We do need government to work with us to throw the juggernaut into reverse before our children’s services become wholly reactive, specialist, blue light services funded on a fraying shoestring.”

On improving children’s outcomes

“ADCS does not take a simplistic view that delivering better outcomes for children simply requires more spending. We know there is much to be achieved - both for children, and for more efficient use of resources - by transforming culture, practice and systems, but the government’s touching faith in structure as a means of improving children’s outcomes is not one that ADCS members share. The structuralist pursuit of creating trusts, and other arm’s length bodies of various descriptions - social enterprises, staff mutuals and in fact Multi-Academy Trusts - brings an ‘accountability buffer’ between service users and those accountable for ensuring services are provided. In all cases the council remains accountable because of its various sufficiency duties. The proliferation of distributed actors in our school and social care systems makes behaviour change even more complex amongst what is already an elaborate array of providers, watchers, checkers and doers.”

On a self-improving system for children’s services

“Inspection outcomes appear to suggest that a successful children’s social care service can only operate in a successful wider children’s services context. One where the corporate and political leadership is well informed and engaged, providing effective support and challenge. Moreover, wider children’s services can only thrive where they are seen as an intrinsic means by which councils are transforming and shaping the places for which they are responsible. It is my firm view that councils are uniquely placed to transform local areas, making neighbourhoods, villages, towns and cities places that work for all children and their families. I do however acknowledge that in some circumstances a poor children’s service may be symptomatic of broader council failings and in those thankfully rare circumstances a trust might be the right solution. This does not negate the fact that councils are responsible for their own improvement, but collectively we are all responsible for the performance of the sector. This must be our self-imposed improvement mandate. This is not about improvement in pursuit of a better Ofsted rating, it’s about embedding improvement as a habit not a goal.”

On elective home education

“ADCS has been raising concerns with the DfE about home education for some time. It’s hard to be sure, but we think there are at least 30,000 EHE pupils in England. Some parents have legitimate concerns that their local schools are not catering for their children’s needs and thus elect to educate them at home. We also know from surveying our members that some schools use home education as a means of off-rolling pupils who are unlikely to hit their exams grades. And of course, there are significant safeguarding and child protection concerns if home education is used as a cover for attendance at illegal, unregistered schools. Might the answer be finding a way to incentivise schools to be inclusive so they are not tempted to exclude and ‘off-roll’ in the pursuit of academic excellence at all costs?”

On school places

“We will need something like an additional 729,000 school places across England by 2020, this is equivalent to building an additional 2000 schools. Shortages of school places in London, the south east and core cities such as Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham are particularly acute, while some rural areas are continuing to experience a surplus of school places. We need to remain vigilant however, because the Green Paper that contained the grammar school proposals also proposed allowing existing academy schools to become selective. This would add even greater pressures into the system and potentially create new ones too. ADCS would advocate a twofold approach to the provision of more school places. Firstly, by increasing the number of good school places available to all families, in places where they are actually needed, ideally embedded in local communities, serving the needs of that community. Of course, this is rather more complicated in large or sparsely populated rural areas, but as a nation we spend £1 billion on home-to-school transport. Secondly, by giving education providers with a strong track record the right incentives to expand their offer to more pupils. Let me be absolutely clear, I include in this local authority maintained schools which are currently the only providers not allowed to compete to open new schools.”

The full speech can be found on the ADCS website

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Annual Conference 2017 Presidential Address

Annual Conference 2017 Presidential Address

Speech by ADCS President, Alison Michalska, at the 2017 ADCS Annual Conference.

View speech


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Annual Conference 2017

Presentations and speeches from this year’s conference will be posted here when available.

Plenary sessions:

Session: Presidential address

Session: Cumulative impact of welfare reform on children and families:

Session: Ministerial address

Session: The right care placement, for the right child, at the right time and in the right place

Session: Keynote address - Ofsted

Session: Keynote address - Education Endowment Foundation

Session: Recovery from a Major Incident:


Workshops:

Thursday:

A: SEND strategic planning and delivery (pdf)

B: Leadership and alternative models of delivery

C: A country that works for all children

D:Turning multi-agency safeguarding reforms into reality

E: Reaffirming the role of the local authority in education

Friday:

A: Pathways through the emotional health and wellbeing system

B: Demand management - squaring the circle

C: Learning from workforce innovations

D: Promoting the safety and welfare of all learners | Tri-borough handout | Luton handout

E: Data, improvement and inspection | North West region handout | Waltham Forest handout 1 | Waltham Forest handout 2 | Nottingham City handout 1 | Nottingham City handout 2



Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

ADCS response to the measures announced in the Queen’s speech

Responding to the measures announced in the Queen’s speech Alison Michalska, ADCS President, said:

“We welcome the government’s commitment to protecting victims of domestic violence and abuse including stricter sentences for perpetrators if abusive behaviour involves a child. We know from our own research that domestic violence is increasingly common amongst the families that we work with and can have a devastating and intergenerational impact on children and families. Putting an end to the direct cross examination of victims in the family courts will prevent any additional trauma for victims. A continued focus on improving mental health services is also welcome. It is vital that we do not lose focus on the ongoing Future in Mind programme, any measures proposed in the forthcoming Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health must complement and support this.

“Local authorities share the government’s desire for every child to attend a good or outstanding school, yet we increasingly lack the capacity to influence where new school places are created. The government must recognise that there is not enough money in the education system rather than focussing on the way in which existing funding is distributed to schools. And must ensure that the urgent problems facing the school system are not overlooked, namely bringing coherence across a rapidly changing education system, addressing the current crisis in teacher recruitment and retention, as well as addressing the funding shortages that many schools face. Children’s services face funding shortages of their own and there was very little information in today’s speech about the future of local government financing. With fundamental changes to the way in which we are funded expected in 2020, there is a need for more clarity on this issue as a matter of urgency.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Mental Wellbeing Advice Manchester Terror Attack

Mental wellbeing advice following the Manchester Arena Incident

This guidance, prepared by colleagues from agencies across Greater Manchester, is aimed at anyone exposed to the incident at Manchester Arena that took place on 22 May 2017. The emotional effects will be felt by survivors, bereaved families, friends, emergency services, health care workers and the general public. If you witnessed or lost someone in the attack you will most certainly have a strong reaction. Reactions are likely to be strongest in those closest to the incident, who directly witnessed the aftermath and who were involved in the immediate care of victims.

View guidance

Safeguarding Children and Families following a Terrorist Attack and/or Incident

In addition to the above guidance, Greater Manchester Police has produced a guidance document entitled Safeguarding Children and Families following a Terrorist Attack and/or Incident.

View guidance


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Summary of Conservative and Labour Party Manifestos re...

This document aims to bring together key proposals in the Conservative and Labour party manifestos 2017 that may be relevant to you in your role as director of children’s services, it does not aim to be a comprehensive guide to the manifestos in full.

View briefing note


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

DCS update 2017

DCS update 2017

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) today, 28 April, publishes the directors of children’s services (DCS) update 2017 using data from the Association’s membership year 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

ADCS has gathered and recorded detailed information about changes in post holders of the statutory DCS role since the Association was established in 2007. We also record the number of directors who hold both statutory roles of DCS and director of adult social services (DASS), referred to as ‘twin hat’ arrangements. The report offers some year-on-year comparisons, several of which date back to 2007, in order to highlight trends and patterns of change.

Alison Michalska, ADCS President, said: “This year marks ten years since the creation of ADCS so the latest DCS update is particularly interesting, given that some, but not all, of its data goes back ten years, providing us with some interesting trends and analysis over the past decade. We know that stability and continuity in leadership is important in the delivery of services to children, young people and families at a local level, children and families tell us this themselves, and the report shows that this year we have seen the lowest number of annual changes in DCS post holders since 2011/12, alongside an increase in the average tenure of directors in the same role since 2012/13. The use of short term interim arrangements pending a permanent appointment is commonplace. This is an important part of ensuring that there is a single and ultimate line of accountability for outcomes for children and young people in a locality at any given time, particularly in pressured circumstances. There are currently 16 interim directors in post, nine of which have previously been a DCS in another local authority.

“Whilst there has been an overall downward trend in total change over the past four years there have been peaks and troughs since 2007/08 so few assumptions can be made. Some regions have experienced more change than others in this time but there is no single reason for this, and it might include directors retiring from or leaving their posts and interim arrangements.

“There has been a continuing trend of more local authorities moving away from ‘twin hat’ arrangements compared to those combining services, however the total number of ‘twin hatters’ in recent years has remained relatively constant. This is likely to continue as local authorities continue to seek arrangements that meet local needs. Over the past decade, around two thirds of all local authorities have at some point had ‘twin hat’ arrangements in place, this picture continues to change as local authorities combine and disaggregate their services.”

The full DCS update 2017 can be found on the ADCS website – www.adcs.org.uk

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

ADCS DCS Update 2016-17

ADCS gathers and records information about changes in post holders of the statutory DCS role; we also record the number of directors who hold both statutory roles of DCS and DASS (we refer to these posts as ‘twin hat’). This analysis focusses on the ADCS membership year 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. It also offers year-on-year comparisons, going back to 2007, in order to highlight trends and patterns of change.

View report


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Announcement on a snap general election

Responding to the announcement of a snap general election Alison Michalska, ADCS President, said:

“Local government has experienced seven years of uncertainty and change due to austerity. Our services do not look like they did a decade ago as a result of significant funding reductions from central government, and despite local authorities having worked extremely hard to minimise the impact of these cuts on our communities by innovating and collaborating, children’s services face a £1.9bn funding gap by 2020. We have to have a realistic picture of what the impact of these cuts has been and will be in the future. We cannot allow this election to overshadow the ever-deepening pressures on children’s social care and in our schools. ADCS is, therefore, keen to hear what all of the main parties will do to support our most vulnerable children and young people and how they aim to create a country that really works for our children.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Yorkshire & Humber Update April 2017

Peer challenge

27 LA/ LSCB children’s services peer challenges have been completed (as at 20 March 2017). Internal and external evaluation has provided evidence of a process which makes a difference and is constantly being refined. Round 2 peer challenge has been launched, with several already having been undertaken and several further requests (11 in total).

New business processes for peer challenge are being piloted, focussing particularly on a single topic and multiple peer challenge activity in a short period of time (as an example – readiness for JTAI peer challenge in West Yorkshire). We are also exploring a concentrated business process for SEND peer challenges, so that a large number can be conducted in a short period of time

The peer challenge training programme is a shortened version of the LGA Peer Review training programme. A further programme in February 2017 increased number of trained and available peer challengers to 70, providing a valuable resource for the region.

Self-assessment

The business process for self-assessment is strongly embedded and has been refined for 2016 to include a shortened self-assessment document and the opportunity for LAs to track their respective strengths and areas for development over a 3-year period. (Feedback on these developments has been very positive).

Self-Assessment submissions were made in November, a Challenge event in January enabled the validation of submissions and a summit event in March has helped us reflect on next steps for regional collaboration informed by self-assessment outcomes.

Regional data analysis

A regional dataset is maintained by Sheffield City Council, which brings together information from education and social care datasets and has produced customised data for the region on the achievement of children in care. This informs annual self-assessment processes.

Leadership development

The region runs a well-established Senior Leaders Programme (SLP), now being delivered to Cohort 8, and has also recruiting to Cohort 5 of the Aspirant Leaders Programme (ALP). These programmes are designed and delivered in-region, but take account of the leadership constructs and ideas shared on previous and current national programmes. Senior managers are utilised as tutors and the programmes are directed by the SLI coordinator. Demand has now stabilised for these programmes (after a spike in 2016). There are approximately 25 participants on the SLP and 45 on the ALP including colleagues from Adult Services. Participants access an online 360, which has been updated for 2017 and is provided under licence by the Staff College

A systems thinking programme was commissioned in 2014/15, repeated in 2015/16 and is running again in 2017. Four LAs are engaged in this, addressing locally identified systems issues. This programme is led by the Staff College and has received highly positive evaluation.

Partnerships

Strong links have been established with NHS England around the children’s mental health agenda, with the regional children’s services SLI Coordinator also a member of the regional children’s mental health team (0.2 WTE).


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South West Update April 2017

Self-Assessment and Challenge

A new area of work for the coming months is to introduce a new Self-Assessment Framework with a process of Director level Peer Challenge. This is new for the South West region but the framework will be built upon the work done by colleagues in other regions. The framework will be agreed by early Summer with the Peer Challenge event happening in the Autumn.

The performance leads group is in a consultation process to introduce a regional data benchmarking programme with a plan to introduce a regional comparative ‘in-year’ data set by July 2017.

Preventing and Tackling Neglect

The principal social worker (PSW) group is co-ordinating the thematic peer challenge programme which focuses on the regional priority of Preventing and Tackling Neglect. Nine local authorities are taking part and the programme commences with a training event in Bristol on the 3rd April 2017. The Peer Challenge programme will take place between June and November 2017.

The Principal Social Worker group has created a Practice Guide on Neglect for Social Workers. The guide has details of the national picture, research and toolkits. The Principal Social Worker in each local authority will be adapting the guide for local use.

Two public awareness campaigns have been conducted in different parts of the region to raise awareness of neglect and encourage families to seek help earlier. A regional project to develop a public health approach to preventing neglect is in discussion.

Workforce Development

The Recruitment and Retention working group is collating data on the first nine months of operation of the ‘Memorandum of Co-operation’ which was agreed in July 2016. The ‘MoC’ introduced a regionally agreed pay cap for agency social workers.

Discussions are underway to extend the Frontline programme to the South West region for 2018.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South East Update April 2017

South East Sector Led Improvement Programme

For further details go to www.seslip.co.uk


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

North West Update April 2017

NWADCS sharing of good practice

Colleagues shared the good practice evidenced through the Peer Challenge process in December and January. Good practice featured in February NWADCS included:

  • Investing in Children - Blackburn with Darwen
  • iCART - Halton
  • Practice Week - Bolton
  • Children in Need - CWaC
  • Salford Place Shaping Work - Salford
  • SEND Kitemark - Warrington
  • Approach to Inclusion in Education - Cheshire East
  • KS2/3 A joined up approach to School Improvement - Rochdale
  • The LA role in Education Improvement - Cheshire West and Chester
  • Stockport Family - Stockport

NWADCS review of sector led improvement

Ben Bryant from ISOS facilitated a workshop on 2 February 2017 for NWADCS on the review of sector led improvement. His report can be accessed here. The workshop and findings proved useful in strengthening the existing model of sector led improvement. The resulting amendments to the provision for 2017-19 can be accessed here.

Closer alignment of Peer Challenge with Ofsted Annual Conversation and 1 to 1 with RSC

In 2016/17 NWADCS has trialled an approach which aligns Peer Challenge with the Annual Conversation with Ofsted. A review of the approach was held on the 15th March and the outcomes can be accessed here. In 2017/18 the RSC NWY will be engaged in this quality assurance process.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

North East Update April 2017

Martin Gray became DCS in Stockton in January and Margaret Whellans, who has been interim DCS in Durham for the past eight months has now taken up the permanent post. There are currently two interim DCSs in post in the region (in Gateshead and Middlesbrough) with permanent appointments anticipated in the coming months.

Teaching Partnership

The North East Social Work Alliance (NESWA) is an agreement between the 12 local authorities, five campus-based universities in the region and the Open University. The Partnership aims to improve the quality of social work education.

Since the success of our bid for funding from the Department for Education we have recruited a project lead, placement co-ordinator and project administrator to support the Partnership. The project administrator and placement co-ordinator have agreed start dates in April 2017.

The Partnership is governed by a Steering Group, and sub-committees are responsible for ensuring progress on the key areas of admissions, programmes, placements and progression.

Buckinghamshire New University has been appointed as independent evaluation partner following a procurement exercise. Projects have been allocated within the partnership by mutual agreement with the exception of the development of a Practice Development MSc and of a workforce plan, both projects require further exploration.

Sector Led Improvement

Eight local authorities in the region have agreed to participate in a new approach to peer review covering children’s and adult services, which was initially piloted in North Tyneside children’s services. Peer review training will take place in May, facilitated by a colleague from the Yorkshire and Humber region and a series of reviews will begin to take place from the summer. The aim is to grow capacity within the region to strengthen peer review arrangements within the region.

The region is also in the early stages of trialling a process of case file audits as part of our sector led improvement offer. The aim is to develop a shared understanding of ‘good’ practice, support a consistently good approach to quality assurance and grow capacity and expertise in the region.

Workforce Development

Local authorities have been in discussion with Firstline to see how they might expand take up of the programme in the region, particularly amongst smaller authorities who have not previously been able to take part. On the basis of initial meetings, they anticipate strong interest from staff.

The regional Workforce Development Group has been developing a regional agreement in relation to agency social worker rates and quality standards and hopes to be in a position to implement new arrangements from May.

Another aspect of our regional workforce development strategy is to promote career opportunities in the North East, initially focusing on those currently living and working outside the region. We are planning a regional presence at a forthcoming national recruitment fair to begin building a North East brand outside of the region.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Greater London Update April 2017

National Funding Formula

ALDCS has been engaging DfE officials in response to the consultation on the National Funding Formula, which would see 70% of London schools lose funding. As part of our response, Directors have been keen to not only highlight the overall detrimental impact of the reform, but in particular the significant and growing pressure on the High Needs Block.

ALDCS has formally responded to the consultation.

Children’s Social Care Funding Pressures

ALDCS is working with London Borough Treasurers and Chief Executives on developing a deeper understanding of the financial pressures being experienced by children’s social care budgets. Recent analysis of London borough budget outturn positions has revealed that in the majority of councils in the region, overspends on children’s social care is higher than that on adult social care. We are hopeful that our analysis will not only provide a more robust evidence base, but will enable us to understand as a London system what are the drivers of overspends and possible solutions.

Regionalising Adoption

London has been busy during January, February and March developing the service and financial model for a future Regional Adoption Agency. These activities are critical to providing confidence to DCSs in the region that the proposition will deliver quality improvements as well as more efficiency, as well as to ensure officials in the DfE are able to understand the future of adoption in London. Unlike other projects, the DfE has not been willing to provide project funding surety over the long-term; therefore, London is not funded for any activity beyond the 31 March.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

ALDCS will be responding to the Home Office review of the UASC funding rates, using the ADCS analysis of the costs as well as a regional analysis of the borough claims under the existing arrangements.

A Children in Care Council for London

ALDCS has agreed to set up a London Children in Care Council to increase service user participation in London.

A regional CiCC group will provide a participation mechanism that promotes young people’s voices in shaping the system at a regional level and would have a positive impact on their lives and the lives of other children and young people in care and care leavers.

A lead senior manager and local authority will be identified to take on the role of project sponsor to support the strategic planning, implementation and delivery of the project. The lead will be asked to commit to this role for the next three years. A dedicated Participation Officer or commissioned provider will be required to launch the group and support its ongoing work over the first three years.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

East Midlands Update April 2017

SEND Peer Challenge

The regional scheme of peer challenge continues. Three areas have received their SEND Peer Challenge in this last quarter and more colleagues trained and added to the pool of reviewers. The scheme sees mixed teams of senior LA leads, health and parent/carers from different areas visit a ‘host’ area to investigate key lines of enquiry relating to implementation of SEND reform and inspection readiness.

The region’s programme of wider DCS-led peer challenge also continues with three visits currently underway or in the pipeline. During May the EM DCS group is looking to shape plans for the concept of a possible LA Improvement Alliance to move the region’s sector-led improvement model onto the ‘next level’.

Regional Adoption

The region’s work to establish collaborative arrangements for aspects of adoption continues to make progress. In two pilot phases of work, elements of family finding and matching are being developed on a region-wide basis, while a strong sub-regional group is aligning service policy and practice as a step towards stronger partnership. Ongoing challenges remain to demonstrate improved service quality and price within any new models, as is the need to match the strong ethical desire to retain ‘sovereignty’ for children’s outcomes.

Family Support and Early Intervention – a new qualification

The region’s Workforce Leads group is delighted that its work with the SFJ awarding body has led to a new set of qualifications for the children’s workforce to support this vital area of practice. These new awards mean that a pathway from L3 to L6 is now available with a delivery model that is highly flexible to employers’ needs. An online L2 award that will be highly suitable to post-16 college students is now under development. The group’s next phase of work is to seek recognition for this pathway within the apprenticeship arrangements.

Mapping Family Support and Early Help

A mapping exercise is currently underway to share intelligence and exchange practice in the use of interventions and approaches to service delivery that are proven to work well with families at the early stages of help and support. The 2nd Tier Safeguarding Leads group will review this mapping and analysis to see where it can inform smarter commissioning and potentially point to a (sub) regional approach.

Data

Driven and co-ordinated by the quarterly routines of the region’s Improvement and Data Group and underpinned by a data-sharing protocol, the benchmarking and analysis of data between the region’s nine areas continues to add a useful and interesting dimension to collaboration.

  • A subset of early help indicators has been designed and is started to be collected and analysed
  • A set of education indicators is now being analysed at pupil level to drill deeper into the analysis of pupil outcomes by learner characteristics
  • The region’s Early Years Strategic Leads group is also drilling into an analysis of the nature of boys’ achievement as represented in the early learning goals. Boys’ readiness for KS1 is a persistent challenge and this analysis looks to shed light on ways in which early learning experiences might better utilise aspects in which boys seem to thrive to strengthen progress and outcomes in ‘weaker’ areas.

Education Summit

This regular network meeting of the key strategic leaders across the education sector has recently been proving useful to underpin discussions about the introduction of the Strategic School Improvement Fund. The change of RSC and the use of the RSC region rather than the traditional East Midlands is leading to some interesting challenges, but the spirit of working together to seek a strong approach remains as strong as ever.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Eastern Region Update April 2017

Self-Assessment, Peer Challenge and Review

The annual self-assessment process for 2017 is underway in each of the 11 local authorities in the Eastern Region. Once completed, these will be moderated and subjected to peer challenge by DCS/AD colleagues within the region. For SLI, the outcome will be new/revised priority areas for the coming year

A peer review has been undertaken into arrangements for LAC/Care Leavers in Central Bedfordshire, conducted by colleagues from Suffolk, Hertfordshire and Peterborough.

Paired peer health-checks are currently taking place, where pairs of local authorities ‘buddy up’ to perform reciprocal peer reviews into Contact & Referral arrangements in each other’s LA.

Data benchmarking continues throughout the region, with a quarterly tartan rug report highlighting comparative performance across all LAs for a range of performance measures. A targeted benchmarking report has been produced on SGO performance and a Section 20 benchmarking exercise is just commencing.

Regional Priorities:

Doing things differently:

A regional event is being planned for June at which every LA in the region will showcase key areas of innovation and improvement by holding workshops or hosting a ‘market stall’.

Improving attainment of vulnerable children especially around KS2:

A planning workshop is being held for school improvement leads and representative head teachers to:

  • Consider current educational attainment of vulnerable groups at KS2 in the region
  • Develop a shared understanding of key factors affecting the attainment of vulnerable groups
  • Share strategies for improvement, drawing on learning from local authorities and schools
  • Agree a sector-led improvement programme of work in 2017-18.

The regional Virtual School Heads group has developed an action plan, with priorities of:

• The effective monitoring of provision and outcomes for children in care by designated teachers that inform intervention

• High-quality Personal Education Plans from all schools that influence practice and bring about improved outcomes

• Effective use of Pupil Premium Plus

• To develop better partnership working between LAs to improve outcomes for children in care placed in other LAs.

Regional networks

A full programme of regular network meetings are supported for:

  • SLI governance groups
  • AD network
  • LSCB chairs and business managers
  • Workforce leads
  • Principal social workers
  • QA leads
  • Performance information management group
  • Corporate parenting steering group
  • Leaving care network.

Other regional activity

Leadership & workforce development:

The focus for this work stream is to:

  • Encourage LAs to work together to shape the QSW recruitment market with a focus on supply and demand
  • Manage agency pay rates, and quality and supply of workers
  • Improve quality of SW students and programmes
  • Deliver regional strategic workforce planning for QSWs
  • Encourage neighbouring regions to launch similar initiatives to manage the overall supply and demand of social workers at a national level.

Regional adoption agency development:

Work continues on developing regional adoption agencies within the region.

UASC national transfer scheme:

A rota scheme is operating within the region to enable equitable transfer/dispersal of UASC between all local authorities in liaison with the Strategic Migration Partnership.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

West Midlands regional update April 2017

National LADO Conference

March kicked off in full swing with the National LADO Conference being hosted by the region in Birmingham city centre. 10 years since the creation of the role, the conference was an opportunity to reflect on the importance and the impact of the work LADOs do. The day started with a talk from Lyn Gavin, Safeguarding Engagement Lead at CBS on how the Disclosure and Barring Service helps employers make safer recruitment decisions to protect children. Her talk was followed by an incredibly moving account of a survival by Nabila Sharma, Author of the book ‘Brutal’ - which served as an incredibly powerful reminder of why everyone was gathered in the room. There were workshops hosted by the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit, Ofsted, Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), and BASW; and speakers including Detective Inspector Michael Spellman from West Midlands Police; Sarah Hammond, a Senior District Crown Prosecutor; Anne Tiivas, CPSU Director for the NSPCC; and Dez Holmes from Research in Practice. The West Midlands would like to thank everyone from across our national community who attended the LADO Conference 2017, as well as the wonderful speakers and workshop leaders who made the day what it was. We look forward to next year’s conference!

ADCS, ADs, Network Chairs Leadership Summit

Following on from our Peer Challenge event in November, a LGA Sponsored DCS Residential at Warwickshire University in December, and a Leadership Summit (for DCS, CEX, Elected Members and Safeguarding Board Chairs) in January, WMADCS hosted a Regional ADs and Network Chairs Leadership Session on the 16th March. The meeting offered an opportunity to share our regional priorities for 2017-2020, and to consult with key stakeholders on implementation. Sponsor DCS led discussions with ADs and Network Chairs about delivery in practice and to generate input, ownership, and energy around delivery. As part of this a regional Governance work stream has been set up with a short life task and finish group established to move the West Midlands from an Improvement Board to system leadership approach. The group is Chaired by a DCS and includes CEX, lead members and an LSGB Chair and have established proposals for the governance of sector led improvement; amongst them Member and CEX Champion for each of our four priority work streams; a (Bi) Annual Children’s System Leadership Forum to address areas of concern or lack of progress; and an Extranet site that all can access for progress/performance reports, best practice, discussion items.

FutureSocial

WM ADCS are committed to ending the ‘vicious circle’ of workforce issues being recycled around the region from one authority to another. Our proposed solution to this is ‘Futuresocial’; a collaboration between all 14 Local Authorities/Children’s Trusts in the West Midlands region. Working together, pooling resources and capability, to build workforce capacity and capability at regional level. lt will be the first regional Social Work Academy providing end to end support for career development, encompassing; Qualifying and ASYE programmes, Recruitment and retention, Post-qualifying continuing professional development, Leadership development programmes and Workforce planning. The region are working with Mutual Ventures to develop this ambitious programme – so watch this space.

Regional Agency Social Worker Update

On Thursday, 23rd of March, we hosted a West Midlands Social Work Agency Providers Update, which was attended by upwards of 15 agency representatives. The event covered items such as; Details of new caps from April 1st; Regional response to IR35; New collaborations around auditing suppliers; and Savings achieved. The meeting was a positive success as both agencies and Local Authorities and Trusts continue to work together to progress this issue.

National Conference: Regional Approaches to Managing the Interim Agency Market.

Finally, on 1st June 2017: 10.00 – 3.30 pm in Central Birmingham WM LGA and West Midlands ADCS will host a National Workshop on: Regional Approaches to Managing the Interim Agency Market.

Nationally all regions are grappling with the problem of managing the agency market for interim staff both in terms of the quality of staff but also the cost. A number of regions have begun to tackle this or are in the process of setting up regional projects to so. This workshop provides a unique opportunity to come together and share the learning of what is working well, some of the challenges and issues faced, and what future developments might look like going forward.

Aims of the workshop:

  • To understand the strategic drivers around the interim social care market and what this means to both individual local authorities and regions going forward;
  • To share good practice and learning from the regions responding to these strategic drivers
  • To look to future workforce development policy, what impact this might have on the interim market and how local government might respond.

Those who should attend:

Senior HR managers, Procurement senior officers, Workforce leads, Chief Executives, Directors of Children’s Services and Assistant Directors, Regional Improvement Leads, Principal Social Workers.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Alison Michalska’s Inaugural Presidential Speech

ADCS President, Alison Michalska, made her inaugural speech on 6 April 2017 at the BMA in London.

View speech


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Increases in remand fees

Responding to the news that the YJB are increasing fees for remand, Jenny Coles, Chair of the Association’s Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee, said:

“Youth offending teams have experienced a significant decrease in their funding from central government in recent years. We’re at risk of this having an impact on the outstanding success these teams have made to date. That being said, across children’s services there are significant continuing pressures, we face a £1.9bn funding gap by 2020. These increased fees will place already stretched council budgets under even further strain at a time when demand for our services is high. It must be recognised that reductions to local authority budgets to date alongside the cumulative effect of reductions right across public services have and will impact heavily on our work and our ability to make the biggest difference to the most vulnerable children and young people.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Peer support programme for children’s services

Commenting in The MJ on the benefits of a peer support programme for the sector Alison Michalska, ADCS President, said:

“Much wisdom and willingness lies within the sector and so it follows that the sector itself is best placed to share good practice, innovation and drive improvement in services for children and families. Professionals and politicians must work closely together to ensure that we can create a sustainable, self-improving system for children’s services so that services continue to effectively meet the needs of local residents, especially in such challenging times, when resources are reduced but demand most definitely is not. We must also collectively bust the myth that you have to be good or better to have something to offer to others – this is not true. All local authorities, irrespective of their Ofsted judgement, have something to contribute towards a self-improving system and, equally, we all have something to learn.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Spring Budget 2017

Commenting on Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget announcement Dave Hill, President of ADCS, said:

“The government has today announced that it will invest £320m to fund 140 more free schools. Whilst additional funding to create more schools at a time when we face a growing shortage of school places is welcome, the Department for Education must work with local authorities to ensure that new schools are built in areas of need and are developed in line with local authority sufficiency challenges. Schools are facing funding pressures, a growing teacher recruitment crisis and overcrowded classrooms. Investment in education is an investment in children and young people’s futures and central government needs to ensure that funding across the whole school system is sustainable and effective.”

“The government also announced that it will expand the entitlement for free home to school transport to children attending the nearest selective school in their area. In 2015/16 local authorities spent around £1bn a year on home to school transport; whilst supporting disadvantaged children and young people to access education is absolutely right, extending the selective system and transport offer is not the correct way to do this. This places a significant new burden on local authorities which must be adequately funded by government.

“We are pleased that the government has invested more money into adult social care but we urge the government to recognise the growing pressures in children’s social care too. Over the past decade councils have been forced to make extremely tough choices in children’s services at a time when more vulnerable children and families need help and support but funding for these services continues to erode. To date we have protected vital services for children and young people by creatively redesigning services or through the pooling together of local budgets but the impact of austerity on our communities is now all too evident. With fundamental changes in the way that councils are funded on the horizon, and with the LGA estimating that children’s services face a £1.9bn funding gap by 2020, it is important that challenges facing vital services for children, young people and their families are given the recognition and long term, sustainable funding that they both need and deserve. Without this we will be letting down generations of children and young people.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

WD policy committee update Feb 2017

The committee met four times in 2016, this included joint meetings with the EA, FCYP and SPI policy committees. A fifth meeting focussing on social work reform was also arranged at the request of the DfE. Guests included the DfE, NCTL, the Restorative Justice Council and Health Education England. WD submitted two consultation responses and made a submission to the Education Select Committee regarding the government’s social work reforms, members also published a position statement on assessment and accreditation. Other areas of focus in 2016 included teacher recruitment / retention and apprenticeships.

2017

Social work reform looks set to remain firmly on the WD agenda in 2017, in particular: assessment and accreditation, development programmes, and the new regulator. The group will be joining up with the HCAN, FCYP and EA committees to discuss shared areas of interest, including the mental health workforce, apprenticeship trailblazers and the education workforce. The committee will also pick up the workforce related recommendations in government’s response to the Narey review of residential care.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

SPI Policy Committee update Feb 2017

The committee met four times in 2016, this included joint meetings with WD, EA and FCYP. Guests included senior figures from the education and social care sides of Ofsted and the ISOS Partnership. The committee had a keen focus on sector-led improvement throughout 2016 along with newly introduced inspection regimes concerned with multi-agency safeguarding arrangements and SEND reforms plus the development of the new universal framework for children’s social care. SPI led on the development of two significant consultations on the inspection of children’s social care. Members of the committee sit on six external groups on behalf of the Association.

2017

SPI will join up with the EA, HCAN and FCYP committees in 2017 to discuss shared areas of interest, including sector-led improvement, the inspection of illegal schools, the new SEND inspection and the ongoing development of the universal inspection framework that will replace the current single inspection (SIF) inspection early in 2018. The committee will continue to liaise closely with the National Information Performance Management Group, the DfE, Ofsted and others to minimise burdens on local authorities in terms of planned and ad-hoc data requests.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

RS policy committee update Feb 2017

The committee met four times in 2016, this included joint meetings with EA, FCYP and HCAN. Guests included the Cabinet Office, the Early Intervention Foundation, Link Maker, DfE and Social Finance. School funding reforms have been a consistent focus throughout 2016, the committee also published a think piece on the future of children’s services entitled ‘Pillars and Foundations.’ R&S led on the development of three consultation responses, each concerned with the government’s wide ranging school funding reforms. Three members of the committee sit on external groups on behalf of the Association.

2017

R&S will be joining up with the EA, FCYP and HCAN committees in 2017. School funding will continue to be a focus and the group will lead on the development of the Association’s response to the second phase of the school funding consultation and will also pick up the place planning and sufficiency aspects of the government’s response to the green paper, ‘Schools that work for everyone.’ The committee will also pick up the recommendations from the Narey report linked to commissioning, such as the testing of new arrangements via the DfE Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

HCAN policy committee update Feb 2017

The committee met three times in 2016, this included joint meetings with R&S and FCYP policy committees. Guests at these meetings included the DoH, the MoJ, DfE, the Council for Disabled Children, NHS England and the National Audit Office. Key areas of focus included SEND reforms, adoption, welfare secure and mental health. HCAN submitted evidence to the Education Select Committee’s inquiry on foster care on behalf of the Association. HCAN members are representing ADCS on 28 separate external groups.

2017

In 2017 the committee will continue its focus on SEND, mental health, complex needs, children in care and care leavers. It will pick up the government’s response to Sir Martin Narey’s review of residential care, including engagement with the residential leadership board and the fostering stocktake. Other areas of planned focus include transforming care and a continued emphasis on children and young people’s mental health services, the committee will also respond to the recently announced green paper on CAMHS. Joint meetings are planned with FCYP, R&S, EA and WD policy committees.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

FCYP policy committee update Feb 2017

The group met four times in 2016 which included joint meetings with HCAN, R&S, WD and SPI committees. Members of FCYP welcomed guests from the Early Intervention Foundation, DoH, National Police Chiefs Council, the Cabinet Office, Health Education England, the DWP, Ofsted, the National Audit Office and Charlie Taylor / the Ministry of Justice. Key areas of focus in 2016 have included early years, youth justice, UASC and demand for services. The committee led on the development of three significant consultation responses in 2016 concerning a new definition of CSE, the youth justice review and mandatory reporting. In addition, members of the committee have contributed to round table discussions on the review of LSCBs, SCR process and the future of CDOP and will continue to liaise with DfE as plans move forward. Members of FCYP sit on 26 external groups on behalf of the Association.

2017

The committee will be looking at the interface between welfare secure and Tier 4 provision with the HCAN committee in early 2017 as well as the impact of deprivation on demand for services, UASC, social work reform and sector-led improvement. The committee will also pick up the government’s response to mandatory reporting, the forthcoming children’s centre consultation, the ongoing review of secure children’s homes, the new social justice green paper (which is expected to replace the previously announced ‘Life chances strategy’) and the new national strategy for youth services. FCYP is also inputting into an LGA-led early years conference in the spring.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

EAPC Update February 2017

The committee met four times in 2016, which included joint meetings with the SPI, R&S and WD policy committees and welcomed guests from Ofsted, the Fostering Network, the DfE, NCTL and the Restorative Justice Council. Key areas of focus in 2016 included children missing from mainstream education, the attainment of children in care, relationships with RSCs and the green and white papers published by the government on education. The committee led on the development of three significant consultation responses in 2016 on supplementary schools, children missing from education and the green paper on education and contributed to the ADCS response to ‘Education Excellence Everywhere.’ Four EA committee members sit on external groups on behalf of ADCS.

In 2017 the committee plans to look at school improvement, capital and place planning, inclusion, inspection, sector-led improvement, SEND reforms, curriculum, the attainment of children in care and the education workforce. Joint meetings are planned with the R&S, SPI, HCAN and WD committees. In 2017, the committee will pick up the government’s response to the ‘Schools that work for everyone,’ a further green paper is expected in 2017 following the publication and subsequent withdrawal of ‘Education Excellence Everywhere,’ along with a new national strategy on careers advice in schools.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Future ADCS Vice President

Commenting in CYP Now Dave Hill, President of ADCS, said:

“I am pleased that Stuart will be taking up the important and wide-ranging role of ADCS vice president in April. Now more than ever the sector needs strong leadership to give voice to the challenges facing children and young people and I am confident that he will rise to the challenge.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Six New Opportunity Areas - Comment

Commenting on the launch of six new ‘opportunity areas’ Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“Additional support and investment for disadvantaged areas is a positive thing and we welcome the Department for Education working together with local authorities and others to achieve change. We must maintain a relentless focus on improving outcomes for children and young people at all times to ensure that this initiative helps them to achieve their full potential.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Comment on outsourcing in children’s services and the...

Commenting on outsourcing in children’s services and the recently published LaingBuisson report, Dave Hill, President of ADCS, said:

“When planning and delivering services for children and young people, it’s vital that the focus is on outcomes, over a particular method of delivery or type of provider. It is important to note that current legislation prohibits profit making from children’s social care and the government’s response to the recently published LaingBuisson report restates this position. This is right. The private sector is already heavily involved in many areas of children’s services including in the foster care and residential care sectors and through the supply of agency social workers. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to delivering children’s services and local areas must be free to put in place the best arrangements to suit local needs and protect the interests of our most vulnerable children, young people and families.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

FCYP and SPI committee update December 2016

Families, Communities & Young People and Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee

The Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committee met with the Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee on Thursday 22 September in London.

Senior representatives from Ofsted attended the meeting to discuss emerging plans for the self-assessment element of the next universal inspection framework for assuring children’s social care services in local areas. The focus of this exercise will be primarily on social work practice. During group discussions differing views emerged about the format this might usefully take and many were keen to understand how the wider corporate context and use of resources would be taken into account. The interface between this new activity and existing regional sector-led improvement efforts was also raised. This must not be ‘something that is simply done for Ofsted,’ and should not represent an additional burden. Wherever possible existing information and analysis should be used. The inspectorate is keen to pilot the self-assessment in early 2017 with a sub-regional grouping of local authorities.

The group then considered a report from the regional performance and information management network on benchmarking efforts, focussing on the similarities and differences across the country. Some arrangements are more developed than others but there was a general consensus that this activity provides a valuable foundation for improvement efforts. Discussions then moved onto peer challenge arrangements in regions and the development of shared work plans. Colleagues from the east Midlands discussed the development of their memorandum of understanding and how this works in practice.

The first substantive draft of the Association’s response to the consultation on the introduction of mandatory reporting for the abuse and neglect of children was discussed. The consultation acknowledged that reporting rates into children’s social care are higher in the UK than in countries such as Australia and America despite those countries that have had such arrangements in place for some time. Overall, the group was concerned about the lack of evidence that this would improve outcomes for children and has the very real potential to swamp the child protection system.

The final item on the agenda was a discussion about unaccompanied asylum seeking (and migrant) children following the launch of the national transfer scheme over the summer months. Arrangements are still evolving and local authorities are in regular dialogue with the Home Office and Department for Education about placement sufficiency and funding. The group also touched on how best to facilitate a knowledge exchange to help those authorities with less experience of meeting the needs of UASCs to develop new services and responses to best meet their needs.

Members of the Families, Communities & Young People and the Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee took part in several workshops and discussion at the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester in early November.

The Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committee will meet with the Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committee in the New Year in London. The Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee will also meet in January.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

RS committee update December 2016

Update from the Resources & Sustainability Policy Committee for the December meeting of the ADCS Council of Reference

Resources & Sustainability Policy Committee

The Resources and Sustainability Policy Committee met on 14th October to focus primarily on developing a better understanding of costs associated with supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children. As part of Safeguarding Pressures 5, a thematic supplementary report on unaccompanied asylum seeking children will be produced which will include a costing model. The committee considered the draft model and suggested areas for further consideration.

The committee considered the financial case for early help and recognised that much work had been done in this area. The recently published NAO report on child protection references early help, the DfE behavioural insights unit are interested in this and the EIF have published evidence on the costs of late intervention.

The committee’s business plan was revisited and updated to reflect new priorities and areas of interest such as: understanding the cost of new burdens associated with the implementation of the Children and Social Work Bill; the impact of devolution; joint funding, commissioning and links to sustainability and transformation plans; the Narey review and fostering stocktake; and, the removal of ESG. Since the committee meeting, the ADCS President and Chair of the Committee have written to the Secretary of State to seek clarification on the future of ESG.

The committee discussed the implications of a recent initial judgement which suggested secure orders made by English courts placing children in secure units in Scotland could not be enforced. ADCS has been working closely with DfE for the last two years in a review of the provision of secure services and has urged government to develop a strategic national approach to the commissioning of this provision. ADCS continues to engage with DfE officials who have been leading the review.

The next meeting of the Resources and Sustainability Policy Committee is on 27th January 2017. This is a joint meeting with the Educational Achievement Policy Committee.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

HCAN committee update December 2016

Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committee

The Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committee last met on 22nd September. Representatives from the DfE attended to discuss the various strands of policy development in relation to children in care. The fostering stocktake will bring a focus on fostering which is long overdue however the committee were clear that this cannot be viewed in isolation, fostering must be considered as part of the wider care system. The discussion touched on the need to develop the market to ensure the right services are available to meet need, to shift commissioning practices to focus more on outcomes, and develop a better understanding of effective interventions.

Colleagues from Hampshire County Council (HCC) attended the meeting to share with the committee high level data from the welfare secure coordination unit. HCC have been running the interim coordination unit since May 2016 and are developing a rich dataset about the young people referred for a secure placement. Conversations with DfE are ongoing about the capacity of the secure estate and the need to address the increasing pressures relating to the sufficiency of services.

The committee welcomed representatives from NHS England to provide an update on the work taking place to support the implementation of future in mind. An analysis of the local transformation plans has taken place and the key messages coming from this include the need to engage with parents/ carers more, develop a better understanding of how data is gathered across the system and how this links to outcomes, and the demanding challenges around the workforce. Guidance on refreshing local transformation plans has been published and these must be submitted by October.

The next meeting of the Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committee is a joint meeting with the Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committee on 20th January 2017.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

EA and WD committee update December 2016

Educational Achievement Policy Committee and Workforce Development Policy Committee

The Workforce Development Policy Committee (WDPC) and the Educational Achievement Policy Committee (EAPC) held a joint meeting in London on Friday 23 September.

The committee welcomed representatives from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) to discuss the national initial teacher training policy and the sufficiency of teaching staff in light of the growing number of school-age children, increasing churn in the profession and a fall in trainees in recent years. There is a growing shortage of staff specialising in science, Maths and computer science; a range of NCTL campaigns and projects addressing these issues are currently in train. During a wide-ranging group discussion the growing number of entry routes into teaching was raised as was the need to more clearly articulate the benefits and rewards of working in the public sector. Many local authorities have developed workforce strategies but there are challenges beyond their control that significantly impact progress e.g. the cost of housing in local and regional areas, particularly greater London and the south east. The group also reflected on growing pressures in recruiting and retaining middle and senior school leaders, in part due to increased accountability, and difficulties in recruiting to the assistant director of education role for local authorities.

The Restorative Justice Council (RJC) attended the meeting to discuss the work they are doing with schools to promote the use of restorative approaches over short-term sanctions to help students to better understand the impact of their actions. Restorative practices place relationships at the heart of the educational experience, this fits with schools of all denominations and faiths (or none). The group reflected on the value of shifting thinking from behaviour management to behaviour development and were keen to hear about successes in other areas of children’s services e.g. using restorative practices in residential homes. The RJC are involved in a new study with 40 secondary schools to pilot action groups with students and staff to promote restorative approaches. This is a three year study and the results will be published in early 2018.

The committee also considered the government’s new green paper, ‘Schools that work for everyone.’ While much of the media focus to date has been on the expansion of grammar schools, the group expressed concern that some of the other, and arguably more controversial, proposals might receive less scrutiny e.g. allowing existing schools to adopt selective practices and the suggestion that independent schools should sponsor or even open their own state schools. Other points of interest raised during the discussion included the acceptance of an increasingly narrow definition of success and the benefits of a truly comprehensive education. This conversation will feed into the development of the Association’s formal consultation response.

Members of the EA and WD Policy Committees took part in several workshops at the recent National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester.

The Educational Achievement Policy Committee is scheduled to meet in Manchester at the end of January 2017 in conjunction with the Resources & Sustainability Policy Committee. The Workforce Development Policy Committee is due to meet in London in early February 2017.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Yorkshire & Humber update December 2016

Update from the Yorkshire & Humber region for the December meeting of the ADCS Council of Reference

The Yorkshire and Humber Regional Update

Peer challenge

26 LA/LSCB children’s services peer challenges have been completed (as at 31 November 2016). Internal and external evaluation has provided evidence of a process which makes a difference and is constantly being refined. Round 2 peer challenge has been launched, with several already having been undertaken and several further requests (10 in total).

New business processes for peer challenge are being piloted, focussing particularly on a single topic and multiple peer challenge activity in a short period of time (as an example – readiness for JTAI peer challenge in West Yorkshire)

The peer challenge training programme is a shortened version of the LGA Peer Review training programme. 60 peer challengers have been trained, however, staff turnover has reduced the available cohort to 45. A further training programme is planned for February 2016 and has 26 applicants.

Self-assessment

The business process for self-assessment is strongly embedded and has been refined for 2016 to include a shortened self-assessment document and the opportunity for LAs to track their respective strengths and areas for development over a three year period.

The closing date for submissions was 30 November, beyond which there will be a challenge event in January and a summit event in March which will enable us to develop a sector led plan for 2017 informed by the validated outputs from self-assessment

Regional data analysis

A regional dataset is maintained by Sheffield City Council, which brings together information from education and social care datasets and has produced customised data for the region on the achievement of children in care. This informs annual self-assessment processes.

Leadership development

The region runs a well-established Senior Leaders Programme (SLP), now recruiting for Cohort 8, and is also recruiting to Cohort 5 of the Aspirant Leaders Programme (ALP).These programmes are designed and delivered in-region, but take account of the leadership constructs and ideas shared on previous and current national programmes. Senior managers are utilised as tutors and the programmes are directed by the SLI coordinator. Demand has now stabilised for these programmes (after a spike in 2016) There are approximately 25 participants on the SLP and 45 on the ALP including colleagues from adult services

A systems thinking programme was commissioned in 2014/15 and has been repeated in 2015/16 and will run again towards the end of 2016/17. Teams from six LAs will be engaged in this, addressing locally identified systems issues. This programme is led by the Staff College and has received highly positive evaluation.

Insights

The region is running a series of Insights workshops for 2017, creating the opportunity for LAs to celebrate identified strengths from self-assessment. The first six of these locally hosted workshops have now been advertised across the region

Partnerships

Strong links have been established with NHS England around the children’s mental health agenda, with the regional children’s services SLI Coordinator also a member of the regional children’s mental health team( 0.2 fte)


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South West region update December 2016

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

The South West Regional Update

The Regional Business Plan for Sector-Led Improvement has been updated detailing the two regional priorities Tackling and Preventing Neglect and Improving the Outcomes for Children in Care. The plan identifies next steps which included the very successful Neglect Regional Summit held on 17 November 2016. The summit was attended by nearly 60 participants and all local authority areas were represented.

The focus of the summit was ‘Tackling and Preventing Neglect’ and the day included a detailed input from Research in Practice on messages from research on neglect and a focus on tools and approaches for tackling neglect. Comparative regional data on neglect was shared with opportunities for local authorities to interpret the data and build arrangements for using comparative data more effectively. The two local authorities with ‘good’ Ofsted outcomes shared their learning and good practice with a particular focus on strategies for ‘getting to good’. The two local authorities were able to identify how learning from regional sector led improvement activity through ‘peer challenges’ had helped improve practice and outcomes. The Spring Consortium updated the summit on the Innovations Programme and offered the facilitation of a learning network to facilitate collaborative approaches for future programme applications. The regional LGA advisor shared good practice from another regions’ approach to sector-led improvement.

The summit afternoon session focused on identifying greater detail on how the desired regional outcomes will be delivered and this will now be integrated into the Business Plan.

A new Project Co-ordinator for the South West ADCS has been appointed and is now in place to co-ordinate the region’s business plan over the coming 18 months.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South East region update December 2016

Update from the South East region for the December meeting of the ADCS Council of Reference

The South East Regional Update

The main project for this autumn and winter is introducing a new Self Evaluation Framework with an element of Peer Challenge. A whole day event is planned for 23 January to start this project. This will be new to the South East, but based on the template kindly shared by colleagues in the East Midlands.

We are also putting our own Topical Peer Challenge Round 9 in the field, recent challenges have been held in Kent (Adolescent Support Teams and Edge-of-Care Work), Windsor and Maidenhead (Corporate Parenting), Medway (CIN) and Portsmouth (CSE).

The Data Benchmarking Group continues to flourish with data sets for social care, adoption, SEND and work now underway on early help.

Our Leadership Development programme continues to support both teams and individual staff. The Children’s Social Care Workforce project has recently activated a Memorandum of Cooperation around recruitment, retention and agency staff. It is now discussing plans for an “Improving Audit Quality”.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

North West Update December 2016

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

The North West Regional Update

Regional foster carer recruitment – You Can Foster

In September, all 23 North West local authorities were involved in a refresh and relaunch of our successful foster carer recruitment project, You Can Foster. Having previously delivered more than 5,000 enquiries and well over 200 additional foster carers, our local authorities again came together to refresh the brand, materials and provide dedicated time from a Principal Marketing Officer to the project.

Harnessing the benefits of our established brand, we followed a complete overhaul of our online presence with a formal launch including the first showing of our new TV advertisement during Emmerdale on ITV1. To date, more than 65 pieces of PR coverage across regional and local news outlets across broadcast, online and digital media have been made possible thanks to the contributions of members, senior officers and our excellent foster carers across the region. The mixture of regional level activity – like TV advertising – and engaging locally resources and media outlets is reflective of our ‘think regional, act local’ approach.

Since the formal launch in mid-September, we are close to receiving almost 700 enquiries with as many as one-in-three progressing to the next step in the process in the best performing areas. To see our mobile-friendly website go to http://youcanfoster.org or for our series of videos and advertisements check our You Tube channel. For Twitter users, search the hashtag #DoSomethingIncredible

To learn more or to discuss working with us, please get in touch with Amy Lythgoe, Principal Marketing Officer amy.lythgoe@bolton.gov.uk or Paul Bunker, Regional Development Manager - paul.bunker@stockport.gov.uk.

Who does improvement? - working with Ofsted

The NW has developed closer working with Ofsted in the region in order to maximise the support for improvement. The following arrangements are now in place:-

  • Annual conversations which follow directly on from the cycle of Peer Challenge Forums. Notes and actions agreed as part of the PC/AC process
  • A regional headline summary session to finalise actions with NWADCS, Regional Director and RSC following the PC/AC process
  • A Performance and Coordination Group which drives the NW School Improvement Board. SHMI, RSC, TSC, NCTL and sub regional LA reps
  • Getting to Good seminars on regional priorities. Hosted and led by LAs with good practice to share. Input from Ofsted on best practice seen nationally.

For further information contact Maxine Froggatt maxinefroggatt@yahoo.co.uk


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

North East region update December 2016

Update from the North East region for the December meeting of the ADCS Council of Reference

The North East Regional Update

The region continues to work through a period of change with three interim DCSs currently in post in Gateshead, Durham and Middlesbrough pending permanent appointments. Current Assistant Director Martin Gray will become DCS in Stockton in January when Jane Humphreys moves on to a new role within the authority.

Teaching Partnership

The North East bid for a regional Teaching Partnership was agreed by the Department of Health in November. This is an agreement between the 12 local authorities and 5 campus based universities in the region supported by the Open University. The Partnership aims to improve the links between local universities delivering social work courses and local authorities, giving local authorities greater influence in the design and delivery of courses in line with the government agenda around social work education.

Sector-led improvement

We have developed a process to support case file audits as part of our sector led improvement offer. The aim is to develop a shared understanding of ‘good’ practice, support a consistently good approach to quality assurance and grow capacity and expertise in the region. The offer includes a small number of regional audit clinics led by experienced external facilitators. Local authorities will work together in groups of four and good practice will be shared, with follow up sessions held in each local authority. A peer audit process will run alongside this work on a 12 month cycle to embed the learning.

Child in Need transfer protocol

The Vulnerable Children Safeguarding Network has developed a regional Child in Need protocol to ensure information is shared and support for vulnerable children continues and is effectively coordinated when a child transfers from one local authority area to another.

Workforce

Under the new regional workforce development committee, we have recently begun a piece of work to review agency social worker rates and quality standards across the region.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Greater London region update December 2016

Update from the Greater London region for the December meeting of the ADCS Council of Reference

The Greater London Regional Update

The ALDCS last met on 28 November, below is a summary of recent issues mentioned

London secondary school places planning

Regional DCSs continue to manage the growing pupil population and projections show no sign of this pressure abating. London will need to create both primary and secondary school places, and after 2019 the secondary shortfall will be larger than the primary shortfall for the first time in a decade.

While providing both types of places are challenging, the additional complexities of secondary school place planning, coupled with a funding shortage and scarce land, mean new approaches are required. Regional DCSs, alongside local government political leaders, are considering how future need will be met between expansion, supporting underperforming schools to improve and new schools.

Borough place planning leads are meeting at a regional and sub-regional level to consider how greater collaborations can assist to deliver new secondary schools. The Department for Education, Education Funding Agency and Regional School Commissioners are involved in these discussions.

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms

Regional DCSs, with the support of the Young People’s Education and Skills Board, recently explored some of the challenges experienced by boroughs as the SEND system has developed following the reforms and possible solutions. Focusing on workforce development, an SEND workshop is being developed building on analysis of recent Ofsted Local area SEND inspection outcome letters and the experience of London boroughs who have been inspected.

Safeguarding

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recently published the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) National child protection inspection report. They identified fundamental deficiencies in the way that the MPS understands and responds to child abuse and sexual exploitation. Regional DCSs, working with the London Safeguarding Children’s Board, will ensure children’s social care is involved in the development and implementation of the recommendations to improve the system.

UASC

London boroughs continue to work to the agreement set out in the National Transfer System (NTS), London is now significantly above the 0.07 threshold. At the same time, London boroughs continue to receive high levels of UASCs arriving directly into the capital alongside those arriving through the Home Office initiatives.

Regional DCSs, where possible, have provided additional support to Croydon during particularly busy periods with transfers.

Adoption

Over the last few months the London RAA has been doing a tremendous amount of work to develop its proposals and colleagues across the region are considering an ‘in principle agreement’. Regional DCSs aim to confirm whether they will join in principle through local political leaders before Christmas.

Peer Review

Using the Eastern Region dataset as a template, regional DCSs are working on a London model and considering proposals for a peer review model.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

East Midlands regional update December 2016

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

The East Midlands Regional Update

SEND Peer Challenge

There is now a regional pool of almost 60 colleagues trained from education, social care, health and parent based backgrounds. Two peer challenges have taken place in the autumn - both were evaluated as highly effective and worthwhile. Three more LA areas are scheduled to receive peer challenge in the New Year with all other LAs set to receive peer challenge within 2017.

The two local authorities which have received Ofsted SEND inspection are using regional SEND peer challenge for monitoring purposes over the next 12 months.

Workforce

The region held a major workforce conference in November which was attended by almost 100 delegates from LAs within the region. In addition over 20 LAs from outside the region were also in attendance.

The focus of the event was on frameworks and the apprenticeship levy scheme to promote the development of the wider children’s workforce:

  • Frameworks: the East Midlands is pushing for modular flexible accreditation and would like to develop the concept of a climbing frame to illustrate this
  • Apprenticeship Levy: appreciated the input from SFA.

The region is currently co-developing and piloting new modules with awarding body SFJ for L2-4 Family Support and Early Intervention.

CSE

A seminar took place involving almost 80 colleagues to review implementation of regional CSE standards 12 months on. Inputs included the sharing of police CSE profiles, along with regional good practice exchange on aspects that are going well. The seminar also identified problem areas which require more focus. The regional CSE groups agreed to take forward a number of suggested actions.

UASC

The region has been co-operating with the NTS, but is nearly at capacity, despite some key local initiatives. The region is looking into innovative collaboration to grow more capacity.

RAA

The region recently held a key summit session with DCSs and lead members to appraise progress to date and re-focus the RAA work into preferred areas.

Qualified Social Work memorandum

Phase 1 implementation is underway to introduce price capping and a number of agreed protocols. The recruitment of a project worker to lead Phase 2 is currently underway.

SEND Transport

Two key workshops have taken place, in which all LAs from the region were represented, to identify key issues and scope potential areas of joint working to deliver better outcomes and savings. Project proposals will be shared with East Midlands DCSs in January.

Further work will focus on collaboration around Independent Travel Training.

Regional Networks

All regional Head of Service networks in social care and education have recently had their work programmes reviewed by relevant 2nd tier groups.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Eastern region update December 2016

Update from the Eastern region for the December meeting of the ADCS Council of Reference

The Eastern Regional Update

Self-assessment, peer challenge and review

The outcome of the 2016 self-assessment process has been the identification of two new regional priorities:

  • Doing things differently
  • Improving attainment of children especially around KS2, including narrowing the gap, which will build on the previous regional priority around narrowing the gap for looked after children.

Work continues to scope and define the outcomes of the following work strands:

  • A peer review was completed in November into arrangements surrounding the handling of cases of domestic abuse in Hertfordshire. This comprised a multi-agency peer review team, led by LA with health and police membership
  • A LAC and leaving care peer review has been planned for Central Bedfordshire; this is now scheduled to be undertaken in February 2017
  • Planning is underway to conduct a round of paired peer reviews into ‘Contact and Referral’, utilising our new peer review methodology. These should all be conducted in early 2017
  • A similar approach of paired peer review is also being considered for SEND peer reviews.

Regional priorities

Doing things differently:

  • The focus of this priority is to share innovation across the region; looking into the most efficient ways of achieving this, e.g. ‘open’ days, mini-conferences, use of the new website as an information resource
  • The peer review methodology will ensure our existing methods are aligned with the current Ofsted frameworks. Additionally this will include greater flexibility through the use of thematic peer reviews where LAs pair up to challenge one another. This builds on the success of the CSE paired peer reviews completed at the end of 2015. The peer review methodology has been applied in a themed context for domestic abuse
  • A draft high level framework for what good early help looks like is under development
  • A methodology for conducting ‘Contact and Referral’ paired peer reviews has been agreed. This links in with JTAI preparation and also forward planning for the next inspection framework. It is also a way of looking at demand management within contact and referral.

Improving attainment of children especially around KS2:

  • In addition to the action plan already developed by the regional virtual school heads, work is underway to plan the remaining elements of this improvement priority area.

Vulnerable adolescents:

  • Mapping the models of delivery for adolescent services for all 11 LAs in the Eastern Region has been completed and the final summary report has been produced
  • A regional workshop or a series of open mornings in different LAs is being considered as a means of sharing best practice and showcasing innovative ways of working across the region.

Leadership & workforce development:

The focus for this work stream is to:

  • Encourage LAs to work together to shape the QSW recruitment market with a focus on supply and demand
  • Manage agency pay rates, and quality and supply of workers
  • Improve quality of SW students and programmes
  • Deliver regional strategic workforce planning for QSWs
  • Encourage neighbouring regions to launch similar initiatives to manage the overall supply and demand of social workers at a national level.

Regional adoption agency development:

Work continues on developing the two regional adoption agencies within the region.

UASC national transfer scheme:

A rota scheme is being developed for the region with sign up from all local authorities in liaison with the Strategic Migration Partnership.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

PR President’s Speech NCASC 2016

ADCS President’s opening address National Children and Adult Services Conference

On Wednesday 2 November 2016, Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) gave his opening address at the National Children and Adult Services (NCAS) conference in Manchester.

On increasing demand for children’s social care

“As we strive to create and maintain the conditions in which good social work can thrive, where social workers and others can form life-changing relationships, we do so against a backdrop of increasing demand. Later this month, ADCS will publish phase 5 of our Safeguarding Pressures research; a longitudinal study of the scale and nature of children’s social care and safeguarding activity. Here are some of the headlines for the year to 31 March 2016 to give us some context. Figures are rounded up:

  • 2.2 million initial contacts were made to children’s social care of which 610,000 became referrals
  • 580,000 social care assessments were undertaken and 225,000 early help assessments were completed
  • There were 280,000 children in need excluding children on child protection plans and children in care
  • There were 71,000 children in local authority care and 35,000 care leavers
  • 50,000 children were subject of child protection plans – almost half of whom, some 23,000, were subject of a child protection plan for the reason of neglect
  • There were 4,500 UASCs, although far more were supported at some point during the year 2015/16.

“Of course, this number now pales into insignificance as an ADCS themed report on unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children, to be published tomorrow, will illustrate.”

On the migrant crisis in Calais

“All of us will have been moved by the plights of those vulnerable migrants and particularly the hundreds of unaccompanied children and young people who had somehow made it to France. I pay a heartfelt tribute to colleagues and politicians in local areas hosting the six temporary reception centres, and those many councils that stepped up to provide almost 100 emergency weekend placements, the social workers, foster carers and residential staff are heroes. Thank you, you are a credit to public service and utterly child-focussed in the face of an unprecedented and at times chaotic situation.”

On supporting children in care and care leavers

“A significant proportion of those 71,000 children in care, and those we have taken into care since 31 March, become, eventually, our care leavers. And it is here that another set of our challenges, and costs lie. We can and must do better for care leavers. But how can we hope to do so whilst we take more and more children into care?

“Throughout my presidency I have talked about how local government should lead the debate about taking fewer children into care and doing even better for those children that we do take into care. To get to that turning point safely we’ve got to change the shape of children’s social care not through the lens of the government’s touching faith in structural reform, but by investing in prevention and early help. For a while of course, maybe 2-3 years, you have to double invest – money into early help and money into statutory child protection work, but eventually the balance can begin to shift. Less child protection work, fewer children in care resulting in more manageable caseloads for social workers meaning they are better able to achieve continuity in case-holding, form meaningful sustainable relationships with children and families and thereby make more meaningful, lasting interventions in the lives of children, young people and their families. Many of those interventions can then be predicated upon breaking the cycle of adult disadvantage, of improving the ability of adults to care effectively for their children, thus preventing some from coming into care.”

On the relationship between central and local government

“I think elements of central government do understand the crucial and unique role of local government as the shaper of places, places where children and young people are at the heart of everything we do. There is not only a moral argument for child-centric policy development, but frankly an economic imperative too, to ensure all public services improve opportunities and outcomes for our children, who will, afterall be the tax-payers of the future, the social workers of the future, the government Ministers of the future.

“Effective public services can only be delivered in partnership. Partnerships with schools, with health, with police, with communities and with other councils. Local councils lead these partnerships on behalf of the citizens their elected members represent. Central government cannot hope to operate effectively and efficaciously without strong, confident local government. Our staff have collaboration in their DNA, lets maximise their skills and experience in moving forward. We owe it to those we serve.”

The full speech can be found on the ADCS website – www.adcs.org.uk

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

President’s Address at NCASC 2016

Dave Hill’s Presidential speech to the National Children and Adult Serviecs Conference 2016

Download speech here

View Changing the Narrative video


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Comment on Demos’ report on commissioning in children’s...

Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“Throughout the country local authorities are working tirelessly to find innovative and effective solutions to improve services and best meet the needs of children, young people and families. We’ve seen some local authorities create social enterprise companies to deliver their children’s services, and others commission out their youth or permanency services. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to improving services and what might be right for one local area will not necessarily work for another. It’s crucial that local areas are free to put in place the best arrangements to suit local needs.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

HCAN and RS Policy Committee Updates September 2016

The Health, Care & Additional Needs Policy Committee and the Resources & Sustainability Policy Committee held a joint meeting on 17th June. Representatives from DfE attended the committee to discuss the SEND reforms, particularly focusing on children and young people over the age of 19. Members of the committee were keen to explore the challenges they face in terms of implementing the reforms and called for more join up at the national level between Department for Education, Department of Health and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to further support collaboration at a local level.

The committees were also joined by representatives from the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) to discuss children and young people with complex needs. Following the Winterbourne View scandal, ADCS has been working with CDC, NHS England, DfE, and DoH to understand better the cohort of children and young people who are in assessment and treatment units (ATUs) or 52 week residential school placements who have autism and/ or a learning disability. NHS England is continuing work to ensure all cases have appropriate tri-partite reviews across health, education and social care.

Representatives from Link Maker also joined the committee to provide an update on the expansion of the resource. Link Maker was initially established to create an online platform providing details of a national pool of adoptive parents which could then be used by LAs during the matching process. From August 2016, Link Maker will provide information on the availability of all care settings subscribed to the service.

Both committees continued to be active over the summer period. The HCAN committee led two workshops at the ADCS annual conference focusing on regional adoption agencies and SEND. Since the last meeting of HACN, Martin Narey’s review of residential care and the government’s care leaver strategy have both been published, followed by an announcement of DfE’s intention to carry out a fostering stocktake. The committee will want to influence this agenda and DfE officials have been invited to the next committee meeting on 22nd September to outline their current thinking.

The R&S committee developed the opening plenary session of the ADCS annual conference, with the chair of the committee and committee member Richard Selwyn exploring ideas around next practice in children’s services. The committee also held a well-attended workshop focusing on social impact bonds. The committee next meets on 14th October and will be focusing on innovative approaches to commissioning, IFAs, costs of accommodating UASC and the financial case for early help and prevention.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

FCYP and WD Policy Committee Updates September 2016

The Workforce Development Policy Committee (WDPC) and the Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee (FCYP) held a joint meeting on 10th June. The committee welcomed representatives from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to discuss the cross-government Life Chances strategy, and in particular how parents and parental relationships can be better supported and the potential to develop local family offers. The committee felt strongly that the government’s welfare reforms are having a devastating impact on some families and leading to increased pressures on parents. The sanctioning regime in place further compounds this and places an extra burden on local authorities via the section 17 duty. Although DWP is keen to move away from a focus on income as a measure of poverty, the committee was clear that for families, the worry associated with a lack of financial means can be traumatising for people and lead to a wider range of issues which require intervention. The committee explained that work is already taking place locally on this agenda and anything that is developed at a national level must seek synergy with local programmes. The group felt strongly that the language of intervention/ programmes can be stigmatising so this needs to be universal and accessible to all to reduce the risk of stigma.

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) also attended the committee to provide an update on their review of early years programmes which support parent child interaction. The review has tested 100 programmes across three outcome categories: attachment, behaviour and cognitive development. Each programme has been assessed against the strength of evidence of impact and allocated a cost rating. The review has now been published along with a commissioning guide.

Outside of the meeting schedule both committees continue to be active. The WDPC recently responded to the consultation on the knowledge and skills statement for achieving permanence. Both committees ran workshops at the ADCS annual conference and social work reform featured as a plenary session. FCYP is also leading on the Association’s response to the consultation on mandatory reporting.

The next meeting of the WDPC is a joint meeting with the Educational Achievement Policy Committee on 23rd September. The next meeting of FCYP is on 22nd September.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Yorkshire and Humber Region Update September 2016

​Update from the Yorkshire & Humber region for the ADCS Council of Reference

Peer challenge

• As of September 2016, 17 local authority children’s services peer challenges have been completed, using a regionally developed and quality assured, business process. Internal and external evaluation has provided us with evidence of a process which makes a difference and is being constantly refined. Round 2 peer challenge has been launched and, to date, seven more challenges are planned. Requests for peer challenge are becoming more diverse: leadership and management; early help; attendance and several LAs now showing an interest in SEN peer challenge.

• DCSs have asked that a more flexible and versatile business process be developed to accommodate the diverse range of peer challenge needs emerging. Alternative models are being developed by working with regional groups (SEN) and at sub-regional level (West Yorkshire LSCBs).

• The peer challenge training programme is a shortened version of the LGA Peer Review training programme. There are now over 60 trained peer challengers in the region. Demand for this training continues, allowing us to replenish and expand our capacity and meet need.

• DfE Innovation Funding enabled the introduction of LSCB Peer Challenge activity in the region, building on the maturing business process for regional LA peer challenge, but with a key variation being that challenges are led by LSCB Chairs rather than DCSs. Six LSCB peer challenges took place from September 2015 to March 2016. An evaluation of this programme was completed in July 2016 by the regional LGA Adviser.

Self-assessment

• The region has a well-established self-assessment process which has been refined for 2016 to include pre-prepared data sheets for LAs which show, against a range of indicators and based on previous years self-assessment submissions, a trend analysis.

• Important parts of the self-assessment process include a challenge event where LAs present and have their assessments validated by peers. There is also a summit event at which outputs from self-assessment are considered and used to inform sector led activity for the forthcoming year.

Regional data analysis

• A regional data set is maintained and regularly updated by Sheffield City Council, which brings together information from education and social care data sets and has produced customised data for the region on the achievement of children in care. This informs annual self-assessment processes.

Leadership development

• The region runs a well-established Senior Leaders Programme (SLP) (now recruiting to cohort 8) and is also recruiting Cohort 5 of the Aspirant Leaders Programme (ALP).These programmes are designed and delivered in-region, but take account of the leadership constructs and ideas shared on previous and current national programmes. Senior managers are utilised as tutors and the programmes are directed by an SLI coordinator. The cohorts in 2016/17 will include adult services leaders and we are also encouraging the engagement of public health leaders. The DASS regional network is now a joint sponsor of these activities, with senior adult services colleagues also supplementing the tutorial teams. An evaluation of the impact of leadership activity is now underway, drawing on previous year’s activity and the views of sponsors, tutors and participants.

• A systems thinking programme was commissioned in 2014/15, repeated in 2015/16 and is being offered for 2016/17. Teams from LAs were engaged in these programmes, addressing systems issues around school improvement, early help, and teenage pregnancy. This programme is led by the Staff College and has received a very positive evaluation.

Innovation

• We ran a series of ‘innovation’ workshops in the region to create opportunities to celebrate and disseminate innovative local practice. These were themed around leadership, ‘voice’, school improvement and safeguarding and were curated by the regional groups overseeing these agendas. For 2016/17 we have launched an ‘Insights’ programme, where each LA will have chance to show and tell up to three of its self-assessed strengths to colleagues across the region, creating 45 separate ‘celebration’ workshops/activities.

Partnership with health

Strong links have been established with NHS England around the children’s mental health agenda, with the SLI Adviser for the region also acting as LA Advisor in the children’s regional mental health team (0.1 FTE).


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South West Region Update September 2016

Update from the South West region for the ADCS Council of Reference

The last few months have seen more change in the region with some new faces joining the Director ‘team’ and also a promotion for Ashley Ayres, who is now Chief Executive of Bath and North East Somerset Council. Ashley has been a longstanding DCS and will be much missed by all of us for his expertise and wisdom and also for his wit and repartee! Interestingly whilst we were previously a region dominated by ‘twin-hatters’, that has rebalanced somewhat with a number of LAs reverting to separate DCS/ DASS roles e.g. Devon and Swindon.

The region has responded to the requests to participate in the national transfer programme for UASC, a rota is already in place and LAs have begun to take unaccompanied children. This will be a significant issue for the South West because a number of LAs have traditionally had low numbers of UASC. This also provides a challenge in terms of expertise and local support mechanisms which we are actively discussing together.

Sara Tough, DCS Dorset, is now the lead DCS for SLI and is putting a new plan in place focussed on two priority areas – neglect and looked-after children. Plans for a performance summit in November are well advanced and we have completed a round of ‘Ofsted case tracking training’.

Fran Havard who has been coordinating improvement work is now moving on and we are pleased that we have been able to appoint Steve Fish as our new SLI Programme Manager. We are expecting this to make a real difference in terms of engaging LAs across the large region and implementing the SLI plan. Steve is starting in November, well timed for our summit.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

South East Region Update September 2016

Update from the South East region for the ADCS Council of Reference

Following the retirement of Janette Karklins from the DCS post at Bracknell Forest, the new South East lead for sector-led improvement is Stuart Gallimore (DCS, East Sussex); he will be assisted by Alison Jeffery (DCS Portsmouth).

The main project for this autumn and winter is introducing a new Self Evaluation Framework with an element of Peer Challenge. This is new to the South East, but based on the template kindly shared by colleagues in the East Midlands. We are also putting our own Topical Peer Challenge Round 9 in the field.

The Data Benchmarking Group continues to flourish with data sets for social care, adoption, SEND and early help. Our Leadership Development programme continues to support both teams and individual staff. The Children’s Social Care Workforce project has recently activated a Memorandum of Cooperation around recruitment, retention and agency staff.

For more details please go to www.seslip.co.uk


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

North West region Update September 2016

​Update from the North West region for the ADCS Council of Reference


NW SEND/Health Peer Challenge 2016

During the autumn term 2016 each LA will have the opportunity to be challenged on their plans and work towards implementing the SEND reforms. The process will act in support of and in preparation for an Ofsted inspection.

The LA will submit their self-view document based along with a data dashboard that highlights the KPI’s in the LA. This will be circulated to the team for their preparation for the challenge.

Each LA will be invited to bring along an appropriate team for the challenge session to include the SEND lead and a case worker from the LA, an appropriate health lead, a parent/carer and a young person.

The challenge will involve a ‘Peer Challenge’ team of people from other local areas.

Evidence of impact and better outcomes for children, young people and parents/carers will be the focus of the challenge session.

Getting to Good Seminars 2016/17

The good practice that exists in local authorities in the North West has been regularly shared in 2015/16, including through the Ofsted-led programme of ‘Getting to Good’ seminars. The seminars attracted significant support from both contributing and participating LAs. In 2016/17 there is a shift in emphasis to a sector led approach, in line with the key findings in the LGA/ISOS Improvement in Children’s Services report.

The majority of LAs in the region have now been inspected under the Single Inspection Framework, with a broad and diverse range of good practice validated through that process. The next round of ‘Getting to Good’ seminars will be hosted and led by LAs, coordinated by the regional sector-led improvement team and supported by Ofsted. The seminars will be delivered from October 2016 - July 2017.

Seminars on the following topics, identified and agreed through North West ADCS, will be delivered twice with input from pairings of local authorities as well as Ofsted inspectors:

  • Domestic abuse and violence
  • Intra-familial sexual abuse
  • Leadership management and governance - working with health partners
  • Effective IRO service provision.

The seminars will be hosted in LAs and will be extended half-day sessions. They will be interactive and informative events for senior teams to attend and share experiences.

For more information, please contact Paul Bunker paul.bunker@stockport.gov.uk or Zelda Massey zeldam@nwemployers.org.uk

The North West School Improvement Partnership Board (NWSIB)

The Board has been in existence from May 2013. The arrangements were initiated in response to the first Ofsted regional report from HMCI, in a bid to address school improvement as a NW collaborative. The partners represent the strategic groups delivering school improvement activity in the NW region - RSC, TSC, Diocese, LAs, NCTL and is chaired independently. Sub-regional groups have emerged to drive forward the school improvement activity on behalf of the Board members. Work priorities for 2016/17 include:

  • Developing a protocol among system leaders including LAs for ‘minding the gap’ in the transition to a school-led system of school improvement activity
  • Looking at ways of ‘joining up the dots’ to avoid duplication and ensure better use of resources. The region welcomes the Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy Review (NPSSR) lead by Sir Nick Weller who will become a member of the SIPB. Other initiatives in the region are also developed and overseen through the SIPB including School to school support funding and EEA’s
  • A continued focus on ‘Closing the Gap’ and maths across the NW.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

North East Region Update September 2016

Update from the North East region for the ADCS Council of Reference

The North East continues to undergo a significant period of change at both director and assistant director level.

The changes can be seen below:

  • Rachael Shimmin has left her role as DCS/DASS at Durham to become Chief Executive in Buckinghamshire. Durham has split back the departments into separate children and adult directorates. Margaret Whellans, former DCS in Gateshead, is the interim DCS pending a permanent appointment
  • Redcar & Cleveland Council has also split back directorates. Barbara Shaw is now DCS only
  • Richenda Broad will retire from Middlesbrough Council at the end of September. Eleni Ioannides has been appointed as the interim DCS pending a permanent appointment.
  • Jane Humphreys will retire from Stockton Council at the end of the year. Current Assistant Director, Martin Gray, will become DCS as of 1 January 2017.

Teaching partnership

The first meeting of the North East social work teaching partnership has taken place. The partnership is a collaboration between the 12 North East LAs and five Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The initial key areas of focus are on placements and admissions.

Adoption

The region welcomed Andrew Christie, Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board, in his capacity as the region’s sponsor. The key focus of the visit was on adoption support.

Workforce development

A new regional workforce development committee has been established, chaired by Suzanne Joyner, Darlington. The key focus of the group will be on assessment and accreditation, agency social worker rates, apprenticeships and staff recruitment and retention.

Step up to Social Work

The North East will again apply for Step up to Social Work after a positive first cohort in the region.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Greater London Regional Update September 2016

Update from the Greater London region for ADCS Council of Reference


ALDCS (Association of London Directors of Children’s Services) met on 19 September. Given the high recent turnover of both DCS’s and ADs in the region, a conference style event was organised bringing together DCSs plus two representatives from each LA to focus on setting out our collective challenges and refreshing our shared priorities for the year ahead.

Issues which remain under active discussion include:

• The government’s emerging agenda across education and wider children’s and youth justice services

• The specific and accumulative financial challenges (Schools funding, Childcare funding, Innovation Fund etc.)

• Social worker recruitment, retention and the new assessment and accreditation process

• Childcare places

• School places and the secondary challenges

• Regionalisation of adoption

• And last but not least, inspection.

We are looking specifically to refresh our approach on sector-led improvement having looked at the model from the Eastern region in particular.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

East Midlands Update September 2016

Update from the East Midlands region for the ADCS Council of Reference

Peer challenge

There are currently two teams of colleagues participating in the East Midlands peer challenge scheme. One LA area is receiving a Peer Challenge Team Review of their recent developments to implement policy reforms, carried out by a mixed team of colleagues from four other LA areas. A second LA area is receiving a SAVMax (Safeguarding Assurance Visit) where a team of social work leaders from 2-3 other LA areas is spending a week thoroughly scrutinising their case management processes. Both of these are examples of the on-going commitment within the region to drive improvements in both service quality and outcomes through a sector-led approach.

SEND peer challenge

The region has recently made a commitment to support the implementation of SEND reforms and inspection readiness through a new peer challenge approach. Within this scheme a mixed group of colleagues from local authorities (education and social care), health partners and parent carer forums will spend two days in each LA area to investigate lines of enquiry based upon an audit of strengths and areas for development.

SEND transport

A seminar took place in July which explored some of the practical and cultural issues that underpin the challenge to sustain appropriate SEND transport arrangements. A follow up event is planned for late September to define, scope and plan a number of specific actions and initiatives that can be undertaken to achieve meaningful change in relation to SEND transport.

Regional education summit group

The need to improve educational standards in a period of significant organisational change in the education landscape is one of the region’s biggest priorities. A regional summit group has been established which brings together the Regional Schools Commissioner, teaching schools, multi academy trusts, local authorities, Ofsted, dioceses and the National College for Teaching and Leadership . This group has committed to meet regularly to maintain open dialogue and to work together towards common goals within the region.

CSE regional standards

In the past year a regional set of standards has been agreed to provide a benchmark for effective work that combats child sexual exploitation. Each local authority, police force and LSCB is working to introduce and implement the standards and it has now been agreed to carry out a ‘stock take’ to identify areas where good progress is being made and where difficult issues still remain. A seminar will be held in November to share practice across the region and discuss problem areas. A warm welcome is extended to colleagues with an interest in this work.

Children and families workforce

The region remains active in its interest and ambition to strengthen the professional development of the wider children’s workforce. The region will be hosting a workforce conference in November to develop existing work strands.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Eastern Region Update September 2016

Update from the Eastern region for the ADCS Council of Reference


Peer challenge, self-assessment and peer review:

  • The main work of the 2016 self-assessment process has been completed including the successful receipt and moderation of each self-assessment and the completion of the DCS Peer Challenge workshop and regional priority setting with DCSs and ADs. Two new regional priorities have been identified:
  1. Doing things differently
  2. Improve the attainment of children, especially around KS2, including narrowing the gap which will build on the current regional priority around narrowing the gap for looked after children.
  • Two peer reviews are scheduled before the end of the year. The first, in early November, will focus on domestic abuse and the second, towards the end of November, will focus on children in care and care leavers. Two school improvement peer reviews were also completed over the summer
  • A first draft of our new peer review methodology has been prepared and will be reviewed by our regional ADCS group. As part of this work it has been agreed to complete a ‘contact and referral paired peer review’, where each LA in the region will buddy up with another. Again, the scope of this will be reviewed and agreed by our regional ADCS group.
  • In March, Central Bedfordshire were inspected under the Joint Targeted Area Inspection framework. As part of regional collaboration Central Bedfordshire led a short workshop to share their experiences, which was well attended and well received by colleagues. The presentation has been made available more widely on the ADCS website.
  • Following the DCS group meeting in June it was agreed that the SLI Programme will support managing SEND peer reviews in the region. Hertfordshire have recently received a SEND inspection and as part of regional collaboration have agreed to share their experience with the region. At this workshop the idea of completing paired SEND peer reviews will be discussed.

Regional Priorities:

Doing things differently: More detailed scoping is due to be completed with lead DCSs and chairs of the linked network groups. It is proposed that some of the existing work of the programme is aligned to this priority area including the work on the peer review methodology, contact and referral peer reviews and developing a framework for what good early help looks like.

Supporting LSCBs on their journey towards outstanding: It has been agreed that this priority area will be closed as a discrete area of work. An area of focus in the ‘Doing things differently’ priority area will be ‘What next for safeguarding partnerships (LSCBs)?’

Attainment and progress of children in care and care leavers: The regional virtual school heads group have developed an action plan to help address some of the priorities that are being identified through school inspections. The plan has been through a number of iterations and has been reviewed recently by HMI. It is now more closely linked to the Ofsted regional priorities. The main themes of the plan now are improve the outcomes of looked after children, those placed outside their home authority and those attending alternative and residential education settings.

This area of work has been identified to be continued over the next year under the priority area of the ‘Improve the attainment of children especially around KS2, including narrowing the gap’.

Vulnerable adolescents: A programme of work for the rest of the calendar year has been planned and includes:

  • Mapping of models of delivery for adolescent services – report to be produced
  • Regional workshop to report, share and identify elements of good practice
  • LA action plans to be developed to improve practice and value for money.

Once these deliverables are complete it is has been agreed to close this regional priority area.

Cultural difference and understanding in social work practice: The aim is to develop a number of tools, including Train the Trainer courses, at a regional level which can then be implemented by each local authority. It is the plan to build on the legacy of the DfE Innovation Fund funded project completed by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk LSCBs focusing on safeguarding children and cultural competence. A scope has been agreed in conjunction with a subgroup of strategic workforce leads and principal social workers and a provider has been selected.

Leadership & workforce development: A plan is in place to collect agency social worker data three times over 2016/17 to inform analysis and test the effectiveness of our Memorandum of Understanding regarding pay rates for agency social workers. There is an ongoing plan to ensure that all agency social workers are brought in line with the agreed payment scales by 31 January 2017.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Talking Heads - Richard Selwyn on Next Practice in...

Richard Selwyn talks about next practice in children’s services​


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Providing leadership and ambition for the care system

Alison Michalska, Vice President of ADCS, said:

“Our members are clear that independently owned children’s homes and fostering agencies play a vital role in the provision of suitable placements for children and young people who can no longer live with their families. However, when local authority budgets are being squeezed year after year it is difficult to understand how and why tens of millions of pounds of public money is not directly benefitting vulnerable children but the shareholders of a small number of private providers and agencies. It is important to note that not all agencies and organisations make profit, some are charities or operate on a not-for-profit basis. This issue, and others, will be picked up in the government’s recently announced stocktake of foster care and we look forward to engaging with central government and providers in this process. The results of this exercise will hopefully serve as a catalyst for future reforms.”

Ends


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Annual Conference 2016 Presentations

Presentations and speeches from the 2016 ADCS Annual Conference

More updates will be made to this page once permission has been granted to share the documents.


Speeches:

Dave Hill - Presidential Speech

Edward Timpson MP - requested

Isabelle Trowler - Chief Social Worker for Children and Families - Speech not available


Film:

Changing the Narrative About the Care System: Views from Children and Young People


Plenary Presentations:

Ian Thomas and Richard Selwyn - Next Practice in Children’s Services

Almudena Lara - DfE - Assessment and Accreditation

Lisa Pascoe - The Future of Children’s Social Care Inspection


Workshop Presentations:

Thursday

Regional Adoption Agencies (Charlotte Ramsden, Andrew Christie, ALB; Jane Parrfement, Derbyshire; Bryan Glover, East Mids RAA; Joanne Hewson, NE Lincs; Nic Haughton, YH RA; Mark Owers) to follow

Relationships, Risk and Restorative Approaches: Doing Things Differently for Young People (Jenny Coles, Dez Holmes, RiP; Andy Lloyd, Leeds; Lindsay Dalton, PACE)

Supporting UASC (Paul Greenhalgh, Chris Spencer; Catherine Houlcroft, NRPF; Bekah Little, DfE; Ian Lewis, Croydon) to follow

Educational Achievement of Children in Care (Debbie Barnes, David Berridge, University of Bristol; John Freeman, NCER; Alan Clifton, VSH, N Yorks; Kevin Williams and Lisa Belletty, Fostering Network) to follow

Conditions for Success (Stuart Gallimore; Ben Bryant, ISOS; Anne MacIver, W Sussex; Brian Lawson; Bernie Brown, Liverpool; Steve Crocker, Hants) to follow


Friday

SEND - Children and Young People with Complex Needs (Barbara Peacock; Amanda Harvey, CDC; Julia Lumb, Calderdale; Jess Haslam, York) to follow

Social Impact Bonds (Ian Thomas, Barbara Herts and Helen Lincoln, Essex; Nasima Patel and Anthony Walters, Tower Hamlets; Simon Brown, Bucks; Tamsyn Roberts, Cabinet Office) to follow

Promoting Stability and Quality in the Social Work Workforce (Rachael Wardell; Graham Archer, DfE; Chris McLoughlin, Stockport; Paul Marshall, Manchester; Samantha Baron, MMU; Melanie John-Ross (Barnsley); Karen Jones, Kirklees) to follow

Families at the Heart of Life Chances (Linda Uren, Jonny Mallinson) to follow

Missing from Mainstream Education (Debbie Barnes, Gail Tolley, Brent, Paul Brennan) to follow


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Local Government Ombudsman review of local government complaints...

Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“An increase of 13% in the numbers of enquiries or complaints about the provision of services to children and their families sounds high but it is important to see these figures in context - our work with schools brings us into contact with millions of children each and every year. The services we provide are complex and local authorities are going through a lot of change driven by changes in legislation and austerity. Some of the most affected areas of our work are SEND, children’s social care and school transport. We work hard to minimise the impact of this change on the communities we serve and when things go wrong we seek to learn lessons.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Harold Bodmer

Commenting on the sudden death of Harold Bodmer, President of ADASS, Dave Hill, President of ADCS, said:

“I am saddened to hear about the sudden and unexpected death of Harold Bodmer, the Executive Director of Adult Services in Norfolk and the President of our sister organisation, ADASS. I know how honoured he was to be nominated by his peers to hold that role. Harold has made an important contribution to public services throughout his career, first as a social worker and later as a manager and director. His upbringing and early working life in Africa informed his approach to everything and I heard him speak passionately about the inequality and social injustices he witnessed first-hand. My thoughts, and those of the Association’s membership, are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”

ENDS


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Video Changing the Narrative About the Care System

Changing the narrative

Changing the Narrative about the Care System: Views from Children and Young People


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles

Press Release ADCS Annual Conference 2016 Presidential Address

President’s address at the ADCS Annual Conference

On Thursday 7th July 2016, Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) gave his address at the ADCS Annual Conference in Manchester.

On the role of the Director of Children’s Services

“As the DCS role is reviewed we must be clear about the advantages of having one voice for children – not because we seek to be defensive or protectionist about our role, but because it works.”

On early help and creating the conditions for successful social work to thrive

“Local government should lead the debate about taking fewer children into care and doing even better for those children that we do take into care. But to get to that turning point safely we’ve got to change the shape of children’s social care not through the lens of the government’s touching faith in structural reform, but by investing in prevention and early help. For a while of course, you have to double invest – money into early help and money into statutory child protection work, but eventually the balance can begin to shift. Less child protection work, fewer children in care resulting in more manageable caseloads for social workers meaning they are better able to achieve continuity in case-holding, forming meaningful sustainable relationships with children and families and thereby making more meaningful, lasting interventions in the lives of children, young people and their families.”

On adoption and permanence

“We value adoption as a means to finding a loving, forever family but love is also present in foster placements and in residential care too. Over the last six years, there has been a focus on adoption as the gold standard of permanence. But ADCS members around the country see no hierarchy in different forms of permanence. The overwhelming majority of the children in our care currently, are in foster placements – it’s time for a focus on fostering.”

On Sir Martin Narey’s review of residential care

“We are pleased to see that Sir Martin Narey’s report into his independent review of children’s residential care has been published this week. We note his recommendation that a fundamental review of fostering is overdue and that this should be a priority for the DfE.”

On the profit made by some Independent Fostering Agencies

“Minister, I urge you to bring your considerable passion and knowledge about fostering to bear on some pretty sharp practices in the private for-profit fostering world. Making millions of pounds of private profit on the back of vulnerable children and young people is quite frankly immoral.”

On the relationships between central and local government and schools

“When well marshalled, collaboration and partnership are the key ingredients of success in our education system and schools. So, please can we stop the pernicious narrative that goes: local authority involvement with schools is de facto a bad thing? Let’s focus instead on creating the conditions for establishing a meaningful relationship between central and local government working together with schools to improve outcomes for children and young people.”

On anchoring accountability for children’s outcomes

“Effective public services can only be delivered in partnership. The local authority leads these partnerships and is responsible for ensuring that the arrangements made by itself and other local providers are designed to benefit children, young people and families and are not predicated on a profit motive or the needs of a single organisation, agency or provider alone. It makes sense therefore, to anchor accountability for children’s outcomes firmly at a local level.”

On safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in care

“The role of the corporate parent is to act as the best possible parent for each child they look after, safeguarding and promoting their welfare and securing the best possible outcomes in particular a duty to promote the educational achievement of children in care. As a sharp-elbowed corporate parent, I don’t want to wait 9 months for my request to the Education Funding Agency to direct a recalcitrant academy to admit one of my kids so let’s devolve the Education Funding Agency’s power to direct an academy to admit a pupil to directors of children’s services in respect of children in care. This would represent a much more efficient and effective system.”

On ensuring school effectiveness

“Acting alone, central government cannot adequately ensure, nor assure, school effectiveness. Therefore, I want to keep my statutory duty to promote high standards in primary, secondary and special education because it gives a way into all schools for the local authority which is the only agency in a geographical area that has a whole-locality focus. With the best will in the world, a Multi Academy Trust isn’t going to spend any time or energy thinking about the life chances and attainment of pupils that attend other schools or colleges. But I am, we are, because we care about the wellbeing of every child and young person on our patches – that’s what councils do.”

On meaningful relationships for children in care

“Every one of us in this room knows only too well how important positive and meaningful relationships are to children, particularly children and young people in care. I wonder though if sometimes the trajectory of years of policy development focussed upon protecting and safeguarding children from physical and sexual abuse has had an unintended consequence – that many adults, be they members of the general public, or the dedicated professionals who work in a wide range of roles with children and young people, are hesitant, reluctant or downright scared of having physical contact with a child. We know that new-born babies in part at least form their attachment with their principal care-givers through physical contact. Children and teenagers need that too.”

END

The full speech is available on the ADCS website at www.adcs.org.uk

Notes to Editors

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Ltd is the professional leadership association for Directors of Children’s Services and their senior management teams in England.

The Staff College, today, publish Changing the narrative: a new conversation between the citizen and the State. To access the full report please click here.


Tags assigned to this article:
There are no tags assigned to this article!

Related Articles