Children’s social care – challenge

At a time when ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgements are increasingly hard to attain, it can be helpful for local authorities to bring in an external perspective to review and challenge the status quo. We bring our hands-on experience of managing such services to provide a robust analysis of how a children’s service is really performing and combine this with our transformation expertise to prioritise key next steps for the authority’s improvement plan.

Useful both in anticipation of an Ofsted visit and in its aftermath, the value to you of this service lies in our willingness to tell it like it is; we believe that absolute honesty is the only approach that will really benefit you. Once we have completed an initial analysis, our advisors work alongside you to define a manageable, achievable and measurable action plan.

Dennis Vergne  07980 541990

We have a great deal of experience within children's services. We have worked with councils across the country including Wakefield, Devon and Cambridgeshire on projects spanning early intervention, safeguarding, fostering and adoption and developing new models of delivery, as well as with the Department for Education (DfE).

Our work in this field is led by Dennis Vergne, one of our founding partner, and a recognised organisational change expert with a passion for enabling transformational change that sticks, turning ideas into effective practice and behaviours.

DfE – review and challenge of Buckinghamshire County Council
We were pleased recently to deliver the first project for the DfE under their new improvement programme. As part of this, our team firstly considered both Buckinghamshire’s analysis of the problems underpinning the Ofsted judgements, and the plans for improvement which followed this. The second phase of the work – challenge and support – covers the following areas:

  • Structure and organisation;
  • Political and corporate leadership;
  • Governance and scrutiny arrangements;
  • Resource, capacity and capability;
  • Robust data to inform self-assessment;
  • Risk management and contingencies; and
  • The work and contribution of partners

Underpinning this project is the requirement to ensure that the scope and direction of improvement plans, the pace of implementation and the engagement of the council and partners are sufficient. Our report on the first stage of this work can be found here: Buckinghamshire Council children’s services: diagnostic report

One of our principal consultants in this area is Paul Moore, who, as Head of Children's Services for Cumbria County Council led on the implementation of the Every Child Matters Agenda across Social Care, Education and other relevant Agencies and established the Children's Plan and the Safeguarding Board. Following his appointment, he also developed and initiated a recovery plan which, in seven months, raised the prospects for improvement and led to a judgment that the authority was no longer failing children.