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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.


• 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.


• 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).

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