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3 key takeaways from our Valuing Care shared learning event

by | Mar 6, 2024 | Children's social care, Local government transformation | 0 comments

50 children’s services leaders discussed the ways in which their organisations are using insight on children’s needs to transform practice and commissioning.

IMPOWER and the County Councils Network (CCN) recently welcomed more than 50 children’s services leaders across a wide range of local authorities and trusts to a shared learning event to understand how local authorities are using insight on children’s needs to transform practice and commissioning.

The session was led by insightful presentations from Debbie Barnes (Chief Executive, Lincolnshire County Council), Colin Foster (Chief Executive, Northamptonshire Children’s Trust) and Kate Dexter (Assistant Director – Family Help & High Needs, Norfolk County Council).

Following the publication of our joint report with the CCN, Valuing Care: Using Data to Improve Children and Young People’s Lives, the presentations and discussion focused on how a growing group of local authorities are using this approach to respond to sufficiency and budget pressures and to inform regional collaboration.

I took three key takeaways from this event:

Local authorities are using the Valuing Care approach to deliver demonstrable impact. Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire Children’s Trust, Norfolk, and Leicester City shared examples of using Valuing Care to drive improvements to outcomes and reductions in cost, through a systematic focus on the needs of individual children and young people and cohorts. Local authorities are using this approach in a variety of ways from driving engagement with care providers and local partners, to strengthening and improving care plans and support.

There are clear opportunities for application at a regional or sub-regional level. Speakers and attendees discussed how a better understanding and capturing of needs, changes in needs over time and cost could be used to inform approach to sufficiency, market shaping and engagement with partners (e.g. health) at a sub-regional or regional level. The power of bringing authorities together around shared intelligence on needs was a key focus of presentations and discussion.

This needs to form part of the programme of work accompanying ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’. A number of attendees made the point that a consistent approach to capturing needs and changes in need over time, alongside information on care provision and costs, could help to support the aims and objectives set out in Stable Homes, Built on love – the government’s strategy on children’s social care reform. Discussion highlighted the potential for a national approach and framework which could support local authorities, care providers and key local partners to work together to meet need and sufficiency challenges, and ultimately to improve outcomes for children and young people in care.

A key action emerging from this discussion was for the local authorities who have taken a lead in developing this approach alongside IMPOWER to progress this conversation with the Department for Education, focused on the role this approach could play in supporting the aims of Stable Homes, Built on Love.

Over the rest of this year we will continue to deliver a range of shared learning events with different audiences and themes. Please get in touch with me directly if you would like to be involved, or would welcome a discussion on any of the areas covered.