LGiU worked in partnership with the Children’s Services Development Group (CSDG) to establish a children’s services taskforce exploring how the commissioning and delivery of services can be improved to achieve better outcomes for looked after children and young people with complex needs.
The work focused on understanding the latest thinking and current trends within the sector, and developing an evidence base highlighting innovative work that is being implemented to deliver specialist, needs-focused care and support for vulnerable young people.
Looking after children is the bedrock of any caring society. It is vital for the wellbeing of young people, their families and our communities and so it is essential that we get it right.
However, there are significant changes taking place in local government. Across the country councils are transforming the way they work and the organisations they work with, at the same time as dealing with cuts of up to 40% in their budgets.
In these circumstances innovation is both necessary and extremely challenging.
This is particularly true in an area like children’s services, where the complexity and risk involved can be extremely high, where there is a minimum level of provision required and therefore an acute need to do more with fewer resources. But the focus on immediate problems needs to be balanced with a strategic and long-term outlook so that we give children and their families the support and care they need to grow into
happy, healthy adults.
The recommendations in this report help to point commissioners in the right direction to begin to tackle some of these challenges. The strategies outlined here are drawn from best
practice across the country. They show local authorities how to open up the space for collaboration and partnerships and thus perform a vital shift from doing things to making things happen.
The new local government landscape will be one in which the council is a hub and catalyst for
citizens, the state and civil society to work together.
It will require multiple organisations to align at the local level, with shared goals and understanding. It will be based on relationships and networks within our communities. And it will need mutual trust for power to be shared.
To do this we need to support the innovators in local government and look for ways to replicate their good work. This report will help enormously.