The LGiU’s Annual State of Local Government Finance Survey alarmingly highlights that Children’s Services is now the top immediate pressure for councils. This is above Adult Social Care for the first time in at least three years, suggesting that councils are no longer able to shield these services from the worst of the ongoing budget cuts in local government.
Figures from London Councils also show that in 2015/16, three quarters of English councils surpassed their Children’s Social Care budgets by a combined £605m – over a 7% overspend. A £2 billion funding gap in Children’s Services is projected by 2020 and as of 31 March 2017, 90 children are coming into care every day.
These stark figures show that many councils will not be able to continue to deliver Children’s Services as they currently are. We need to re-imagine how services can be delivered in order to give families the information they need and to empower individuals to access the right services at the right time. Digital can play an enabling role in supporting service design to improve outcomes and data can be utilised to manage ever-growing demand on services by identifying the best way to tackle the problem at its source.
There are a number of good examples of councils taking a data-led transformation approach of children’s social care. For instance, Newcastle Council’s data-informed changes to Children’s Services help social workers deal with complex family needs better whilst also being able to identify factors that can predict a child becoming NEET, enabling earlier intervention.
This timely roundtable, hosted by techUK and LGiU, will be an opportunity to bring together senior local government representatives and tech industry specialists to discuss how a digital approach can support service redesign. We will explore how data can be used more effectively to manage demand on children services and lead to prevention strategies. It will be a chance to learn and share what colleagues in other councils are already doing, as well as to discuss the potential of digital to transform service outcomes.
Key questions this roundtable will explore include:
- How are councils currently using data and technology to deliver Children’s Services?
- How can we harness the power of data to deliver targeted care to families and predict demand?
- How can councils overcome data sharing obstacles to collaborate more effectively with key partners in health, justice and the voluntary sector to protect vulnerable children?
- How can we place data at the heart of service design?
- What barriers may prevent councils from maximising the value of their data? How might these be overcome? For example, lack of leadership, legal compliance issues, staff skills gaps and ethical considerations.
Given the format of the event, places are limited. If you would like to attend please contact Jennifer Glover.