Westminster Education Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Children’s services in England - inspection, effective multi-agency working, and innovation in delivery


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the future of children’s services provisions in England.

Areas for discussion include:

  • addressing rising demands and resource needs,
  • Safeguarding Partners arrangements and their implementation,
  • the inspection framework,
  • the Children’s Social Care Innovation and Partners in Practice programmes, and
  • innovation, best practice and its delivery and evaluation.

Of course, a further key focus for participants on the day will be the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s services, and on all those who work in or are served by them.

Taking place right after the expected re-opening of schools in the beginning of June, the conference will be a timely opportunity to discuss the role of schools in helping to safeguard and stay in contact with vulnerable children.

We also expect the agenda to bring out latest thinking on what the coronavirus crisis means for the future of the children’s services, including:

  • what can be learned from the performance of children’s services during the crisis and the system’s capacity to support disadvantaged and vulnerable children amid heightened pressures on children, households and services, and
  • the extra support that may be required going forward for children’s services and their workforces, their partner organisations, and the children and households that they serve.

Key areas for discussion:

The new Safeguarding Partners arrangements and their implementation so far - with a keynote address from Sir Alan Wood who originally designed the new system - and discussion on:

  • improving response times across the agencies for access to support, and reducing services working in silos,
  • ways in which children’s services departments can most effectively utilise resources - including sharing services and using technology, and
  • how bodies outside of the statutory local authorities, the police, and Clinical Commissioning Groups can contribute to effective multi-agency working - including the role for schools.

The inspection framework - including introduction of short inspections, the inspection of large local authorities, and the ‘burden’ of numerous inspection events - with discussion on:

  • the intensity of short inspections and their impact on the workforce,
  • consistency of judgements, and
  • whether the framework is a more broadly effective driver of improved practice in individual areas and across the sector.

The Children’s Social Care Innovation and Partners in Practice programmes - what has been learnt and the next steps for encouraging innovation within children’s services - with discussion on:

  • trialling new working practices, the challenges for replicating successes, and how examples of effective new ways of working can be scaled-up to a wider or even national approach,
  • the move by increasing local authorities to shared resource agreements including separate not-for-profit business models - the experience of using these approaches, and lessons so far, and
  • the Children’s Social Care Innovation programme’s record - overcoming implementation challenges, evaluating intervention impact, and the case for greater local freedoms to innovate in future.

The COVID-19 epidemic and children’s services - the conference will also be an opportunity to discuss:

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

It takes place with:

  • Preparations for the expected Comprehensive Spending Review this autumn - and the background of local authority budget reductions, and growing numbers placed on child protection plans;
  • Resource pressures - with the National Audit Office reporting local authorities outspending their children’s services budgets and the LGA warning of local authorities funding gaps;
  • New working arrangements - with Local Safeguarding Children Boards now replaced with new Safeguarding Partners consisting of local authorities, CCGs, and local police forces;
  • Regulatory reform - with the latest inspection framework for children’s services in place for two years, and following the publication of Ofsted’s evaluation of its implementation; and
  • Service design - with the Government’s Children’s Social Care Innovation programme concluding and the introduction of a Partners in Practice programme designed to share existing best practice.

The agenda:

  • The challenges facing children - what’s driving the demand for children’s services;
  • Addressing the impact of rising demand and resources needs, and improving multi-agency working post-LSCBs (Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards);
  • The inspecting local authority children’s services (ILACS) framework and driving improvement;
  • What works - how can children’s social care innovate and improve;
  • Innovation in children’s services - tackling barriers to new ways of working, evaluating change and the next steps for spreading best practice:
    • Achieving and building on ‘Outstanding’ delivery;
    • A case study from the Innovation in Children’s Services programme - improving long-term foster placements and adoption rates;
    • The Innovation in Children’s Services Programme - lessons learnt so far and how can best practice be implemented across the country: and
    • Children’s Trusts: the different models created.
  • Next steps for policy - government’s priorities for improving children’s services.

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

It’s certainly the case with this one. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons, and officials from the Department for EducationOfsted; the Government Legal Department; the National Audit Office; and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Westminster Education Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates