Regional Update - April 2022

This Regional Update is a document circulated electronically to West Midlands Directors, Assistant Directors and Heads of Service. While recipients are welcome to forward the document to colleagues (where appropriate), we would ask that secondary recipients raise any queries about this Regional Update, or its attachments and hyperlinks, with the person who forwarded it to them, rather than the Regional Network Team. If you have any comments or feedback on the bulletin – please email us – we are always pleased to hear from you. All content within this Newsletter is at the discretion of West Midlands ADCS Network.


From the Co-Vice-Chair:



I am delighted that the task of writing the introduction to the Regional Update falls to me this month. While my full-time role is Director of Practice at Birmingham Children’s Trust, I also share this role with Nigel Minns the DCS at Warwickshire. You will hear from Nigel next month.


I warmly welcome the words of the new ADCS President Steve Crocker in his inaugural speech, The text of this can be found HERE. I found his comments regarding the challenges around social work recruitment and retention enlightening, I echo his sentiment regarding the agency market and the impact that managed teams are having on our regional and national workforces. As I hope you are all aware, recruitment and retention is an issue that we are working hard to address in the West Midlands. Our ambition is to build a regional workforce who feel supported, valued and cared for, This will bring stability for the children and families whom we work with. I am sure that when Steve comes to visit the DCS Network in June, we will have a lively discussion on this important topic.


Since the last edition of Regional Update, Stoke-on-Trent have had their latest Ofsted visit letter published and this, along with Lisa Lyons joining them as their DCS marks an important landmark in their improvement journey. Both Wolverhampton and Telford & Wrekin have also been visited by inspectors, in the last month and we wish them both well as they wait for the formal outcome of their visits.


As the summer draws closer and the impact of the pandemic seems to ease, little by little, we need to turn our thoughts to the future and how we continue our collective ambition to be the best region that we can be. Below you will read about a number of our current initiatives. As leaders within your organisations, I would urge you all to play your part, but for now, I would like to thank you for all that you do to support the children and families of our region.


Best wishes


Jenny Turnross






SEND:

In light of the recent publication of the SEND Green Paper, we have received confirmation of some funding to support this area of practice, for the coming year. Whilst the amount of money is not massive, we have taken some reassurance from the knowledge that we will be receiving similar grants for the next two years, as well. This has enabled us to secure the continued services of Pat Bullen, who will continue to work, across our workstreams supporting SEND. Pat has drafted a delivery plan, which is currently being considered by our collective DCS’s and will be embedded within our broader regional plan.


RIIA activity:

As well as the SEND grant, we have also been notified of some resource being allocated by the DfE to support the core function of regional working. Again, this is not a large amount of money, and nothing like the size of last years CRABBB grant. However, it secures our ability to further develop our regional data analysis; to ensure that we are able to host our peer challenge event this year; and provide some support within the spirit of sector led improvement. Our ambition is to use these monies creatively and in a way that promotes the legacy of CRABBB.


DCS Development:

Next week our DCS’s, and trust CEO’s will be meeting for a two-day development session. The agenda includes recent developments in education; how we further reinforce anti-discriminatory practice; and a further look at our workforce and retention strategy. At the end of the two days, we will have the basis for our future strategic business plan.




Key Updates:




Aspirant Leaders Programme- Applications now open!

DCS’s and Trust CEOs will have received an invite to endorse Tier 3 and new Tier 2 Leaders to attend the Aspirant Leaders Programme. This is an exciting opportunity to build on your current leadership skills and will support those looking to move into AD roles within the next three years. There are only 25 places and must have DCS or Trust CEO endorsement by 6th May. Please see the flyer HERE

Regional Care Leaver Offer

A virtual update session was run on 14th April to update on the achievements to date with the CRABBB funded project. There was consensus with aspirations and a will to create a realistic WM regional Offer to

Care Leavers. This session facilitated networking and also next steps with consideration for the challenges ahead such as Council Tax exemption. The Young People’s Voices from the Care leaver Survey were loud and clear. You can view and share the slides from the session HERE and we encourage dissemination and feedback from colleagues. A date will be set in collaboration with the Care Leaver Covenant and LGA to Launch the regional blueprint and corporate parent commitments this summer!

PSW Master Classes

There were 7 Masterclasses run between February and March 2022. The classes were well represented and led by a breadth of colleagues from the region. Feedback surveys indicated positive learning experiences but also the benefits of regional networking. Unexpected outcomes have included new connections which will facilitate a better representation at future regional network meetings. Summary and analysis of the classes are being produced and will be made available to DCS’s, CRABBB Project Leads and DfE colleagues via Programme Oversight Group initially. We would like to see master classes become part of standard practice within the region!

Culture, Diversity and Anti-Racist Leadership Programme

We were pleased with the feedback from the initial workshops where attendees have been supported to embed change personally and to gauge how to facilitate this within their own organisations and regionally. To facilitate a shared regional agenda where there is continuous improvement in this area, we intend to run the three workshops again over two full days in June. Dates are yet to be confirmed but please look out for these and we encourage Tier 2 and 3 leaders to attend as this agenda will form a critical part of the regional business plan.


Early Help and Targeted Support

As mentioned earlier in this update, CRABBB might be nearing its end, but we are keen to embrace its legacy. The Early Help and Targeted Support workstream are very much on board with this concept and are fully behind the further roll out of Family Hubs. As part of CRABBB, Jane Moffat from Coventry and who led on this work, along with colleagues, will be hosting a “Let’s Talk Family Hubs” event, both physical in the morning, and virtual in the afternoon on 19th May.


The event is intended to help stimulate conversations across the region as well as to provide feedback on the draft blueprint that is being complied to complement the work of the National centre for Family hubs.


For further details please contact:

Michael.Simmons@coventry.gov.uk



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