Essex County Council has officially been named as one of eight Local Authority Partners in Practice by the Department for Education, tasked with contributing to a collective approach to improve outcomes for vulnerable children across the country.
Children and Families Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has today announced a package of support worth £17 million, of which ECC has been awarded £2.1 million to help local authorities where children’s services have been rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted.
The funding is part of the Government’s £20 million improvement strategy for children’s social care and will see the Partners in Practice programme – children’s services which are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted – develop and share strong practice, and deliver hands-on peer support to other councils.
The government is also announcing £2 million will go to improve leadership in children’s social care services, which will be delivered through the Local Government Association (LGA).
Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Families, said: “We're really excited to be a Partner in Practice and look forward to joining other Local Authorities in taking a collective approach to improving outcomes for children and families across the country.
“Essex County Council has already been officially appointed the improvement partner for a number of Local Authorities in the country and has a strong track record of helping to transform children’s services. This has mainly been due to the dedication of our Children and Families’ employees, headed up by a strong leadership team.
“We are clear that only through co-ordinated action will we be able to realise a country that is serious about getting the best for every child and it is essential that local and national government work together to achieve this. I’m pleased we have a further opportunity to share learning from Essex with our Partners in Practice.”
This investment comes from £20 million announced at the National Children’s and Adults Services (NCAS) conference last year, to provide additional support for councils at risk of service failure and to help create a system of continuous improvement. Through the funding, the LGA will create a package of support to ensure lead council members have the skills they need to scrutinise performance and drive improvement in children’s services.
Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi said: “Social workers do an incredible job providing some of our most vulnerable children in our society with life-changing care and support.
“This investment for our Partners in Practice Programme will help the fantastic work councils are doing to deliver high-quality services and make a real difference to children’s lives.
“I am also pleased to support the LGA to drive good leadership, which is crucial if we want to support and encourage frontline staff to deliver excellent care for children and young people.”