A focus on outcome productivity in children’s services would unequivocally deliver the step changes in understanding called for in the recent PAC report ‘Transforming Children’s Services’.
IMPOWER recently conducted a survey of senior officers on the subject of alternative delivery models in children’s services.
The response indicated that, over the next two years, over a third of councils will be actively exploring alternative delivery models across all children’s services, and almost four in five councils will be looking at new models in some children’s services.
The system which supports vulnerable children and families is of course an interconnected and complex one. Some councils are taking this agenda forward in that context – looking at how the whole system can be better re-configured to manage demand – and others are looking for opportunities to first test an approach.
Many officers want to know whether a ‘hybrid’ model in fostering could achieve the best of internal and external provision – allowing the cost advantages of the in-house service to be retained while better enabling growth to deliver greater placement choice and savings.
The paper ‘New Models in Fostering’, proposes a careful and positive approach to exploring options which puts foster carers and their needs at the heart of the process.
We are now testing demand for a group of councils to fund a multi-authority programme which collectively develops this approach, influences the market and informs policy. For some, this will complement efforts to optimise the service in-house. For others, it will provide a more direct route to improvement.
If you would like to discuss your potential involvement in this programme or the ideas outlined in the paper, please contact Alastair Thompson at email@example.com.