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Tue, 09 Jul 24 10:00

Bottling the best of partnership working

As I sit down to write this blog, I am very grateful to be in a cosy kitchen away from the terrible wind and rain we have been experiencing again across large swathes of the country over the tail end of the festive break. It has reminded me of the terrible experiences of some of our Rotherham residents in the latter part of the autumn with the flooding in Catcliffe and the similar challenges across the Yorkshire and Humber region for many communities and a lot of our own staff in recent weeks.

Such events are sadly part of the regular cycle of challenges for residents and colleagues in my newly adopted region, and I have been overwhelmed by the effectiveness of our collective responses as well as the huge care and concern shared by all our staff for the people significantly affected by the devastating impact of climate change on our increasingly severe weather events. These impacts are always felt most keenly by those with the least resources to withstand them and the ongoing efforts to support those families on top of the “day job” has been an example of local authority and partner working at its absolute best.

This quality of pulling together to tackle the hard jobs across 15 local authorities will stand our region in good stead as we move into 2024 faced with the vast array of government initiatives announced just before Christmas by the Department for Education. There is a huge amount for us to process as leaders, let alone implement over the next 12 months, and with more guidance and innovation programmes still to come! It’s vital that all the reforms happening across the system are joined-up and that government takes a long-term view. There will be many challenges ahead, some of which were explored in ADCS Vice President Andy Smith’s blog last week.

We will need support from our partners across the system in this nuanced and complex work, just as we did during the recent terrible weather events. If we can continue to work in that same joined-up and outcome focused way, we will be able to develop local strategic plans that start to make this manageable for all of us. We can then scale this up on a sub-regional and regional basis as we consider the challenges and opportunities these very significant changes bring, especially to our early help landscape.

I am confident, however, that we will be successful in understanding the key elements of the reforms so that they are genuinely transformational and will actually make a difference to children and their families’ experience - with the support of each other and our fantastic and dedicated staff. Listening to our children, young people and families about how we should make these changes will be key, and probably the best part of my job moving forward.

Good luck everyone!

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