WD and FCYP Policy Committee Update - December 2019

Workforce Development and the Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committees

The Workforce Development and the Families, Communities & Young People Policy Committees met jointly in London on Friday 27 September. The group was joined by Nicola McGeown, Principal Social Worker at East Sussex County Council, for the first item to speak about the use of social media in social work. East Sussex is developing a policy around this and Nicola noted that while they are focusing on safety online, the use of social media covers a range of areas which they are looking at, for example communication with young people and threats to social workers online. The group welcomed Nicola’s input in an area that is still being explored and noted that current publicly available guidance is not always relevant.

The group was then joined by Patrick Myers to discuss the Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme and workforce aspirations. The programme is focused on co-parenting and eligibility for the programme has been widened so that an estimated 1.2 million children are currently eligible. Patrick explained that the role of the wider workforce in this space is key, particularly school staff. It is important that the workforce is able to adopt a relational approach to improve child outcomes through parental behaviours. The practitioner training module is important in achieving this; however, members of both committees expressed some concern over the quality of the training materials and the prescriptive nature of the training. Further, members were frustrated at what is seen as another example of a small amount of government funding for a single piece of work when long-term, sustainable funding is needed.

Next, the group was joined by Donna Molloy from the Early Intervention Foundation and Dr Maria Neophytou from Impetus to discuss the Youth Endowment Fund. They have received a £200m endowment from the Home Office to be spent over 10 years. Donna and Maria gave some context around the types of interventions that are effective in reducing parental conflict such as skills-based and family-focused programmes. The first funding round for 1-2-year grants opened at the end of May and closed on 23 July for projects looking to expand their interventions. The last funding round received a very high number of bids for grant applications with the majority coming from charities or social enterprises. Only 25 of the 446 bids were recommended to be taken further with successful bids announced in October. The group welcomed the funding for innovation work but again stressed the need for long-term, sustainable funding.

Other areas of discussion included serious youth violence and knife crime, an update on safeguarding reforms and statutory guidance for LAs providing youth work.

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