West Midlands Regional Update - December 2019

The West Midlands Regional Update

Children’s Improvement Board

Regional representatives (including lead members, chief executives and the DCS regional Chair, Helen Riley) embraced the opportunity on the 13 November 2019 to speak to the national Children’s Improvement Board and share our improvement journey as a region to date taking them through the roadmap of our priorities, a copy of which is available here. Our input was well received.

Regional Improvement and Innovation Alliance

The 14 directors of children’s services and three children’s trusts chief executives have confirmed their financial commitment to WMCS over the next 3 years. This followed an exercise led by Mutual Ventures which lead to an options appraisal presented to the network in September. The DCS network then confirmed their preferred future structure for WMCS which is a more formal, legally binding agreement to ensure shared liabilities. The new structure includes those aspects of the FutureSocial programme that the DCS network wants to pursue and an ongoing relationship with the Teaching Partnership.


The NAAS regional phase 2 is now in full swing with growing numbers of social workers and their managers undertaking the assessment and receiving the recognition. The learning curve around capacity remains challenging both in getting councils and trusts to plan ahead so we avoid a ‘bottleneck’ at the end and working closely with Mott McDonald, (now confirmed for the continuation of the NAAS programme), to put on sufficient assessment centres.

SEND Regional Network

The DCS for Birmingham now leads the network focusing on three priorities:

• Being Ofsted ready

• High needs pressures

• Sharing best practice.

Presently the region has too many ‘Written Statements of Action’ and is determined to improve on performance across the region as a whole.

Education and Skills Network

The DCS network finally met with the Regional Schools Commissioner in October. The Education and Skills Network will now develop the relationship and agree on a mutual agenda. There will be an annual review with the DCS network to reflect on performance.

Regional Commissioning Hub

Recruitment to the hub roles is underway, a work-plan is being developed to ensure that the hub is focussed, from day one, on delivering the region’s strategic commissioning objective; better management of the market-place through the collaborative buying power of the councils and trusts leading to significant savings and improved quality for all.

Successful Bids

We were successful with two of the three applications for the Fostering Sufficiency Grant.

The LGA continues to support the region with our RIIA activity.

DCS Networking

The annual DCS residential programme took place on 26 and 27 November 2019, with a mixture of key speaker inputs and detailed group work aimed at reviewing regional priorities and strengthening our alliance.

LGA Lead Members Meetings (14 November 2019)

The region’s close relationship with the LGA continues. Following the election of new lead members in the May elections we supported their lead member training by sharing our RIIA journey.

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