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Tue, 09 Jul 24 10:00

New (school) year, new start

I like to think the start of the new school year offers an opportunity to renew long forgotten resolutions made several months ago in the throes of optimism. For most people this consists of ‘less of this’ or ‘stopping that,’ but perhaps it’s time to do a bit more for a change.

If your New Year’s resolution was making more of a difference, learning new things or getting the most out of your career then look no further than ADCS. You’ll have often heard it said that we’re a member-led organisation but what does that mean? It means that you can contribute to important national debates and be involved in shaping the Association’s position on emerging policy developments such as the mandatory reporting of abuse and neglect, the assessment and accreditation of social workers and a whole raft of education reforms.

All ADCS members are eligible to join one (or more!) of our national policy committees which meet several times each year, most usually in London, but I’m told we’re looking to schedule quite a few more meetings in ‘the north’ next year.

  • Educational Achievement (EA) covers education from the early years to FE, skills, assessment, school improvement and standards. This group has recently focused on ways of improving the attainment of children in care, children missing from education and the relationship between LAs and RSCs.
  • Families, Communities & Young People (FCYP) looks at safeguarding, youth work, youth justice, community cohesion, preventative services and the early years. Recent areas of focus include Charlie Taylor’s youth justice review and UASCs.
  • Health, Care & Additional Needs (HCAN) holds the remit for permanence, SEND and the health and wellbeing of children and their parents, recent areas of focus include CAMHS, adoption and DoLs.
  • Resources & Sustainability (R&S) looks at all aspects of funding for children’s services, commissioning, school place planning and admissions. Recent areas of focus include the government’s fairer funding formula and ‘next practice’ in the run up to the publication of Pillars and Foundations.
  • Standards, Performance & Inspection (SPI) holds the remit for inspection, sector-led improvement, intervention, performance management and data. Sector-led improvement has been a consistent focus throughout 2016 along with the next universal framework that will replace the SIF in 2018.
  • Workforce Development (WD) covers professional standards and registration, training and workforce sustainability. This group has understandably kept a keen eye on the government’s social work reform agenda of late.

Representatives from various teams in the DfE, the education and social care side of Ofsted, DoH, the NAO, the MoJ, the Cabinet Office, the Early Intervention Foundation and the DWP have attended our meetings this year offering our members the perfect opportunity to influence and advocate on behalf of the children and families they serve.

Each of the six policy committees will be meeting in the coming weeks.

FCYP and SPI will be joining forces on Thursday 22 September to discuss the inspection of children’s social care with Ofsted, the HCAN committee will meet on the same day in London and care will be high on the agenda.

On Friday 23 September EA and WD committees will be coming together to discuss teacher training and the use of restorative practices in schools.

The final committee meeting of the year will be R&S and the focus there will be the commissioning of care placements and UASCs.

There’s no application process or waiting list to join a committee - our credibility is derived from the involvement and experience of our members, so new faces and perspectives are always welcome. If you’d like to find out more please email and one of our policy officers will get back to you.

Just before I finish I wanted to flag up that nominations to be President in 2018/19 will open soon. I’ve had the great privilege of holding this role for several months and I hope others will consider putting themselves forward when the time comes. Look out for more information in the autumn.

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