This timely seminar assessed the future for children’s services in England, looking at managing funding pressures, priorities for improving services and the next steps for inspections.
Delegates discussed best practice in managing services and improving outcomes in light of ongoing funding pressures, including the use of early intervention, leadership and data and technology to improve efficiency in service delivery. They also considered the findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s No Good Options report, which recommended a review of resourcing of children’s social care and the incentivisation of early intervention.
Stakeholders and policymakers also analysed the future for the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme in light of the announcement of the funding allocations for the second round of projects, including lessons from evaluations of the first round which can be applied to other contexts and the action needed to support projects to produce long-term, sustainable changes.
Further sessions assessed the future for service reform in children’s social care, including collaboration and service integration, following the announcement that the Government is developing an improvement system to support local authority children’s services. Delegates also considered the progress so far in areas where children’s services have been removed from local authority control, in light of commitments to continue to remove responsibility for children’s services from the weakest-performing local authorities.
The next steps for inspections - including assessing the impact of leadership, responding to financial contexts and the piloting of focused visits - were also discussed, ahead of the implementation of a new inspection framework for local authority children’s services from January 2018.