Greater London Region Update December 2018

London’s Response to the Regional Improvement Alliance Approach

ALDCS recently held a regional summit with chief executives, lead members for children’s services, DCSs, ADs and other partners from across the region, to present and discuss its approach to the Regional Improvement Alliance. The region identified three priorities – vulnerable adolescents; workforce; and special educational needs & disabilities and is currently working on the programme for the next year of sector- led improvement activity.

Regionalising Adoption

Project managers are continuing to work at each of the sub-regional ‘spokes’ of London’s regional adoption agency, Adopt London. The current target for go-live of Adopt London is April 2019.

Funding Pressures in Children’s Social Care and High Needs

London DCSs, working with London Councils and chief executives, have commissioned further research to understand better the financial pressures facing children’s social care budgets and the High Needs Block. Our recent analysis revealed that London boroughs experienced a collective shortfall of £78 million in the High Needs Block, and £112 million in children’s social care in 2017/18. ALDCS and partners plan to commission qualitative research to investigate the key drivers of increased spend in these areas and identify current and emerging practice to reduce spend and manage demand.

School Places

ALDCS is working with London Councils on the next publication of ‘Do the Maths’, an annual places planning report, which will focus on the demand for secondary and dedicated SEND places in London.

MASH Review

The London Safeguarding Children Board carried out a review of MASH. The final report of the review went to the London Safeguarding Children Board on 13 September and was received positively. Agencies are now tasked to consider whether to endorse or amend the recommendations and report back to the London SCB on 10 December 2018, where an implementation plan will be agreed.

Children in Custody

A multi-agency working group, chaired by a DCS, is reviewing our approach to providing accommodation to children denied bail. 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. The group is also looking into whether bail is being granted in all cases where it is appropriate. The group shares data on police requests for accommodation with local authorities on a regular basis. A draft protocol for London has been written and is being consulted upon. ALDCS is also considering what steps can be taken to develop appropriate accommodation within the London area.

Appropriate Adult (AA) Provision

Directors of adults’ social services are currently considering a proposal to co-commission AA provision for vulnerable adults across the Basic Command Unit (BCU) footprint. Although this is not a statutory requirement for local authorities, it is relatively low cost and the MPS and NHSE will jointly fund the provision. Initial indications suggest that the majority of boroughs will agree and, where this is the case, arrangements will then be made to appoint a lead commissioner across the BCU who can liaise with the police and NHSE. The multi-agency working group, chaired by a DCS, which has developed these recommendations, will meet again to consider further the implications of the reduction in custody suites on children’s social care and whether processes can be put in place to support the provision of AAs to large events across the capital which are likely to generate a significant volume of arrests.

County Lines

ALDCS will be leading discussions at a county lines roundtable, being convened with partners from within and outside London, to take stock of our current approaches to preventing the exploitation of vulnerable young people by county lines crime organisations and to agree collaborative actions.

Pan-London Secure Settings Project

ALDCS is working with the NHS on a review of secure settings in London which includes an exploration of the use of secure settings by London’s young people and a consideration of future commissioning options.

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