'We have already achieved better outcomes for some of our young people, and we think this could save us around £4.2m a year.' Martin Gray, Director of Children's Services at Stockton Council.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve hosted three sessions for directors, practitioners and commissioners from five councils to share with each other how they are making the most of the Valuing Care approach.
We will share the highlights in a short report and video in early May. Meanwhile, here are three of my reflections:
- Valuing Care is more than just a one-off opportunity
At IMPOWER, we know one size never fits all. We always co-produce solutions drawing on our EDGEWORK inventive methods so that we can work with the complexity of the local situation. I therefore knew that Valuing Care would provide plenty of opportunities to work differently to improve value and achieve better outcomes that cost less. But even as the programme lead, I’ve still been surprised at the breadth of innovation with our partners. Beyond the core improvements to practice and commissioning, one of our clients is using Valuing Care to change how young people participate in finding and planning their moves from residential homes to foster placements, and another to transform how foster carers are recruited and supported. In other areas, it has unlocked funding for new placement schemes, and already provides the framework for new outcomes-based contracts.
- Valuing Care is making a big difference already
Change is not meaningful unless it has a real and transformational impact. Through Valuing Care, more children are being placed more locally and more are experiencing family life. Participating councils can now show for the first time how and where needs are reducing and take action where they are not. One council is now able to demonstrate that, overall, all needs of all types are reducing for children in care as a whole. Added to this, savings are following better outcomes. Just two of the councils involved already estimate that £2.8m will be saved in the first full year of implementation.
- The best improvement is sector-led
Valuing Care isn’t the first or only children’s services programme we have developed, but it has absolutely reaffirmed to me that this is the best way for the sector to innovate and drive impact. Common goals and approaches are balanced with local application of our inventive methods through shared data and learning. Each council is adding something new and different, and all are benefitting. The more engagement and input from across the sector, the better the approach will be. We want Valuing Care to be the standard.
If you want to learn more or get involved, please contact me.