The demands placed on Departments of Children’s Services have risen continually over the last ten years, and at the same time, austerity has made it harder to meet those demands. However, our work has shown that all demand is influenceable: it can be reduced, delayed or avoided altogether. There are real opportunities to reduce the number of children entering specialist services and to make these services more financially sustainable. This means turning away from high-cost and often low impact statutory provision and towards more impactful interventions earlier on that build resilience in families.
We work with councils and their partners to understand demand for children’s services within their local setting using:
- Demand and workflow analysis to understand the nature of demand, where it has come from, and why it has arisen.
- Avoidable demand reviews with social workers and other professionals to understand demand, what is happening at the interfaces between organisations in the system, and where demand can be influenced.
- Partner engagement to gain an understanding of the beliefs and behaviours present across the system.
When combined, the above analysis provides an evidence base for change. We use this to co-design new and sustainable systems that are authentic to the local area and that have the confidence of the professionals and practitioners who will deliver it.
This approach provides:
- a clear analysis of current demand drivers,
- an analysis of areas for change,
- a better understanding of partner behaviours and beliefs, enabling their successful engagement in the co-design of a future children’s services model,
- a clear picture of the demand and financial baseline in children’s services, alongside an analysis of what, where and how resources are deployed to meet demand.
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