We offer councils a wide range of support on children's services improvement, with two strands of support provided through the children’s improvement team that are the funded through the Department for Education.
The first strand of our children's services improvement offer is focused on children’s social care and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), covering:
- universal offer – leadership training and networking opportunities for political and corporate leaders at a national, regional and local level
- targeted support – improvement support and diagnostic activity tailored to local area needs and framed around specific themes and issues
- intensive support – tailored role-based support aimed at individual councils – supporting individuals and groups to understand and perform their role effectively to drive improvement in children’s services through the provision of mentoring, support, tools and bespoke training.
The second strand is focused on the early years and speech, language and communication development and includes the delivery of peer challenge, strategy development activity and sharing learning and practice through webinars, events and resources.
During 2022/23, programme highlights and achievements included:
- 99 per cent of councils that were rated ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted accessed universal, targeted, or intensive support – 49 per cent of this cohort engaged with all types of programme support (increasing from 22 per cent in 2021/22)
- 791 days of targeted support were delivered to councils to enable improvement activity – the areas of work that were covered included strategy development, case reviews and audits, chairing improvement boards, workforce development, inspection preparation, partnership engagement, quality assurance
- 629 councillors and officers engaged through a programme of national training and development events – 20 events in total covered a range of thematic areas in children’s services and targeted portfolio holders, chief executives, directors of children’s services, chairs of children’s scrutiny
- we delivered corporate parenting support and diagnostic activity in 12 councils
- we completed 24 peer reviews and diagnostics, including related to special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), social care, safeguarding partnerships, finance, youth services and early help
- we supported 102 portfolio holders and officers through one-to-one support, advice and mentoring, with wider support provided to groups of councillors, such as children’s scrutiny or full council
- the early years programme delivered a range of activity including eight peer challenges / strategy reviews in 10 councils and 21 online events with 2,226 delegates participating
- Department for Education (DfE) funding was secured in June to maintain and expand this programme over the next two years.