Enabling councils to deliver sustainable change as a result of system challenges, delivering rapid improvements as part of a long-term transformation.
Children’s services sometimes get caught in ‘system lock’ – a vicious circle whereby increasing demand drives more work, lower quality practice, poorer outcomes and increased costs. This situation can then be exacerbated by a difficult inspection or monitoring visit, which tends to narrow the focus on change and improvement activity, lower risk thresholds and drive further demand.
Recognising the warning signs of system lock – and taking appropriate action to intervene before this is highlighted by Ofsted – is vital for the good performance and financial sustainability of any local authority.
With bold leadership and appropriate support it is possible to break out of system lock or avoid it altogether. By enabling councils to reframe the challenge and grip the complexity in the children’s services system, we have proven that demand can be managed and improvement can be delivered in a scalable and sustainable way.
System-wide transformation is needed to shift the vicious circle of system lock into a virtuous one. This requires delivering change at scale and pace, and to know when and how to pivot from improvement to long-term transformation.
Recognising that each local authority will have its own context and challenges, the phases outlined below are expected to be interdependent and overlap, and are fully adaptable to local needs.
JOANNE HEWSON, DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE / DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES