NCASC 2016 Update

The National Children and Adult Services Conference 2016 opened on Wednesday 2 November with speeches from ADCS President, Dave Hill, ADASS Immediate Past President, Ray James and LGA Vice Chairman, Cllr Nick Forbes.

In his speech Dave shared headline findings from ADCS Safeguarding Pressures Research Phase 5 which will be published later this month. He touched on some of the challenges facing councils including rising demand for children’s social care and creating the conditions where successful social work can thrive with limited resources. The golden thread throughout his speech was the importance of meaningful, lasting relationships in improving outcomes for children, young people and their families. Other themes included doing better for children in care and care leavers, the importance of early help and prevention and partnership working. He also praised local authorities for their commendable efforts in helping to support hundreds of unaccompanied children following the closure of the Calais camp.

The full transcript of Dave’s speech is available, here.

You can also watch the the video Dave shared with delegates on changing the narrative of the care system, here.

Sessions ran throughout the morning and into the afternoon from Improving Children’s Life Chances to a session in which Professor Paul Bywaters from Coventry University shared some emerging findings from a fascinating study on inequalities in child protection in and between the four countries in the U.K. The findings of this study raise some pertinent questions in both policy and frontline practice. Read more in the Guardian, here.

On Wednesday afternoon ISOS Partnership shared emerging findings from a new study they are undertaking on behalf of the LGA on models of support and intervention in children’s services and President Dave Hill talked about the approach he has taken in Essex. Other topics included transition planning and how best to prepare children and young people with SEND for adulthood, a session on grooming, controlling and coercive behaviour chaired by BBC Radio 4’s Jane Garvey and improving the mental health and wellbeing of children in care, care leavers and adopted children.

On Thursday morning the Association published its special thematic report on unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children in order to provide an insight into the characteristics and needs of unaccompanied children and the services available or being developed by councils to meet these needs. The full report can be accessed, here.

Later that morning we heard from Ofsted, Manchester City Council and the head of Burnage Academy for Boys in a fascinating session on safeguarding pupils from extremism in schools. The LGA have recently released a publication on councils role in preventing extremism in schools.

On Thursday afternoon Debbie Barnes, Chair of the Association’s Educational Achievement Policy Committee, led a discussion, with contributions from NCER and NAVSH, on the development of a new data tool to measure the progress and attainment of children in care. This work stream is based on the findings of a piece of research by the Rees Centre and the University of Bristol. Read the ADCS et al paper on this project, here.

Later that day the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening and the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson addressed the conference. In her speech Justine Greening highlighted the importance of stability in promoting children’s longer term outcomes and the crucial role of social workers in supporting vulnerable children and families. She announced 11 new teaching partnerships and the publication of the first evaluation reports from some of the innovation fund programmes. This was followed by a closed session on unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children.

The day ended with a series of evening fringe meetings followed by the much anticipated quiz night hosted by the Guardian.

A variety of sessions ran throughout the Friday morning including Education Question Time which looked at the ever-changing education system and delegates discussed the future role for councils in education. We also heard from the National Schools Commissioner Sir David Carter and there was an interesting session on innovation in children’s social care highlighted creative practices being used by local authorities in order to improve outcomes for children and young people. A session with Ofsted on what will replace the Single Inspection Framework brought the conference to a close.

Those of you on twitter will know that the conference has generated plenty of Twitter activity over the three days and it’s safe to say that Rachael Wardell took the award for one of the most active tweeters throughout the conference. Search #NCASC16 or see @ADCStweets for a summary of events.

Speeches and presentations from the event will be posted onto the conference website when available. Here’s to what has been, yet again, another enjoyable conference. We hope to see you all again next year!


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