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NCAS Conference – live blog, day one


Like last year, at NCAS Conference IMPOWER will be live blogging, capturing snap shots of the most interesting things heard and seen. With the agenda looking excellent, there should be plenty to blog about. Here we go…

9am – the IMPOWER team are on their way:


9:30am – key question so far: #NCAS2016 vs #NCASC2016? I guess we’ll have to keep track of both…

10:19am – @chrishattoncedr tweets: “One event, four hashtags currently being used #NCAS16 #NCASC16 #NCAS2016 #NCASC2016 A metaphor for social care?” – good point Chris, good point

10:30am – Keynote from Dave Hill. Key points include:

  • Praises response of local government to child refugees
  • Focus on social workers creating ‘life changing’ relationships
  • Prioritising prevention
  • Calls for more support for care leavers

11:00am – really touching tribute from Ray James on Harold Bodmer. He is still very much missed.

11:10am – From Jeremy Cooper: “5 minutes in and Dave Hill gets first dig at Government of NCAS2016 – laughing at their misplaced and “touching faith in structural reform”” – oof!

11:20am – good points being raised in Nick Forbes’ (LGA) session:

  • Nick Forbes makes strong case for more social care funding, describing precept as “a sticking plaster on a gaping wound”. #ncas2016 – @jeremycooper75
  • Ofsted need to play more active role in improvement ||| Look forward to debate on whether should, never mind could #ncasc2016 – @al_thompson
  • Conflict b/w social care spending decisions affecting “the hidden” (the right thing) and local democracy (votes) #ncasc2016 – @al_thompson

11:30am – a couple of hours in to the Conference and alternative delivery models are being discussed:

11:42am – Important and worrying stat:

11:45am – discussion on Regional Adoption Agencies:

12:47pm – Looking forward to this:

1:15pm – lots of chat on workforce issues. Key themes:

  • How are care workers *really* valued as part of the workforce?
  • We must recognise the value of the 6 million carers contributing £132bn to the economy
  • Has the profession been “de-politicised” and the ethics “driven out”?

1:20pm – Only just caught this from earlier – some interesting insight on demand in children’s social care:

2:20pm – post lunch. Next session on improvement. IMPOWER have lots to say on this. Check out our report – Brave New World: Is inspection improving children’s services? – launched at NCAS Conference last year.

2:32pm – and here’s the link to the Isos Partnership research

2:40pm – from the colleague: “David Pearson is talking about his experience of leading the Notts STP. the most telling part is that he felt the need to start by explaining my on earth he would have taken the job on!”

2:58pm – some reflections on this morning’s sessions on tech and adult social care. Interesting case studies:

  • Take up of Govroam in some areas which enable care workers to hot-desk – key for integrated working and STPs
  • Single Care Records – combining up to 17 partner records. Again, key for STPs
  • Moving 1000 residents on personal budgets to an e-market place (Harrow); using tech as a facilitator saving up to £4m a year
  • Using technology for independence (rather than shifting processes)

3:30pm – Reflections on the earlier children’s services improvement session: Interesting analysis from ISOS and Dave Hill on conditions of success for improvement. Included a focus that there is no-one-size-fits-all solution. This still seems at odds with the government push for alternative delivery models and delivery outside of council control seemingly as a standard response to inadequacy.

3:57pmInteresting session on SEND transitions with powerful input from a young person about simple jargon free info. Also a good focus on children understanding their outcomes with a series of ”I’ll know my plan is working if…” statements which the young people in Enfield all new. Key question still though is how to get health fully round the table both in transition planning and care packages – a big feeling in the room that this remains a national challenge!

4:00pm – asked a colleague what this ‘key takeaways’ from the Conference were. He responded:

  • Clearly no ‘silver bullet’ for improvement support in children’s services
  • ‘It’s a marathon to outstanding, not a sprint to adequate’ – key message from Dave Hill
  • To improve, it is about understanding the local context and demand. Every area is different

4:15pm – some great demand management examples from Essex CC:

4:30pm – discussion moving on to importance of behaviours, values and judgement:

4:35pm – mismatch between needs and outcomes. Absolutely crucial and something IMPOWER comes across frequently in our work on children’s services.

5:00pm – the Conference is starting to wind down and IMPOWER are getting ready for the first of our NCAS Conference dinners. We look forward to seeing over 50 social care colleagues this evening.

General consensus: An interesting day. Prevention and demand management the next phase of transformation to really impact demand and budgets. Dave Hill’s ‘conditions for success’ a useful toolkit when planning the improvement journey but it always comes down to understanding local context, local demand and therefore local solutions.

See you tomorrow!


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IMPOWER is an organisation driven by a social purpose. We are a values led consultancy dedicated to the reform of the public sector.



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