top of page

Regional Update – April 2024

From Wolverhampton’s DCS and our Adoption and Special Guardianship sponsor.

As a newer DCS, although by no means new to the region, or indeed Wolverhampton, I think it is fitting that I follow on from Catherine’s introduction, last month.  It is no secret that there has been quite a lot of movement over the last few months, but much of this has been planned, and there have been some great examples of “grow your own” culture.  Along with my out-going DCS, Catherine and other more established members of Network really have ensured that the knowledge and wisdom, built up over a number of years, is passed on.  The old expression “in the end the race is only with yourself”, I do not believe fits when it comes to Regional working, I believe that the race may be long, but it is a relay with the baton, every now and then, being passed on to a fresher pair of legs.


As a further example of retaining our collective memory, it was obviously fitting that as a DCS I became the sponsor for the workstream that I used to chair.  Adoption and Special Guardianship has had an interesting pathway over the last couple of years.  Originally set up as a board, and feeding into the National Board, there was a requirement for each region to have one.  When that prerequisite was dropped, other areas chose to disband theirs, but believing that more than ever Special Guardianship should have a greater focus, we didn’t.


As I hope you are all aware, Wolverhampton is a Wave 1 pathfinder for Families First for Children, you may have also caught the recent news that we are to be joined in Wave 2, by Warwickshire and Walsall.  Of course, Telford and Wrekin are also just about to be joined by Staffordshire in delivering the Family Networks programme and Birmingham are early adopters of the Early Career Framework.  Add in the regional Safe Centre project and you can sense that Whitehall has a lot of trust and belief in our region and our ability to deliver.  All those involved in these projects are keen to share learning, so regardless of your LA area being directly involved or not, these trail blazing initiatives are a great opportunity for all fourteen local authority areas in the West Midlands.


Last month the DCS’s and Trust CEO’s came together for our annual Development Session and for the second day, we were joined by members of our Leadership Teams for feedback from this years Peer Challenge, and networking.  Both days were a success and from them the Regional Team have started drafting the next iteration of our Priority Plan.  The priorities themselves are due to be signed off soon, then there will be a call to each of our workstreams to start working up the detail.  Please can I ask that where possible, you get involved as this absolutely needs to be owned by all of us, not just DCS’s.


Finally, I would like to thank you all for the work that you do for not just your organisation, but the wider region.  If like Catherine, you will soon be departing, then thank you for your commitment to this great region, or if you are just a little bit newer, welcome.  In either event, remember to pass on the baton with style and accept it with grace! 


Kind regards

Alison Hinds

Regional Team Update:

Ana Davies has started her secondment with Solihull so please contact Paul Brewster for anything that you might usually send to Ana.


Current CPD Opportunities:

West Midlands Teaching Partnership have been working alongside the CPD/Research Group to commission opportunities of CPD. These include:


A safe space for participants to have discussions on the themes of bias and race, and to explore and reflect on their own experiences.


1 in 6 men suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime and 1 in every 3 victims are male. How can we ensure men, and their children receive the support they need in their local community? Training will be delivered over 2 mornings; participants must be able to attend both dates (21st & 22nd May).


Join us as we learn the definition of parental alienation, consider research and theory that can inform practitioners, and explore the impact parental alienation can have on social workers.

Key Events:


Aspirant Leaders Programme:  Aimed at tier 3 leaders (Heads of Service, or similar) and following on from our successful cohort in 2022, we are pleased to announce that we have secured eight places on a similar programme this year.


Dates for the programme are:

·       Residential: 3rd-4th July 2024

·       Workshop 1: 18th September 2024

·       Workshop 2: 7th November 2024

·       End of Cohort 3 event: 11th December 2024

Working with colleagues in the Southwest, we are able to fully fund eight places.  However, applicants will need to secure a commitment from their DCS/Trust CEO that they will be released for all dates and will not be held back for any reason (including Ofsted inspection/visits).


For more details, or to register your interest, please contact Paul Brewster.


Aspirant DCS Programme 2024-2025:  Staff College are delighted to announce that they will be recruiting between 29th April and 7th June 2024 for the next round of the national Aspirant DCS leadership development programme, with onboarding during the Summer and the first residential in late September.


As always, they are keen to attract a diverse range of applicants in terms of protected characteristics as well as professional background.


Staff College Women in Leadership Programme:  There are still some places available on the highly regarded Women in Leadership Programme which is taking place at Warwick Conferences on 8th/9th May. The programme has been running since 2019 and is now on our 15th Cohort, and over this time has developed an alumni network of over 200 women. We will be hosting an alumni event on 5th November to celebrate this.


Details can be found here.


Invitation to take part in ‘Family Hubs Five Years On’ event in Parliament (Jubilee Room), 9-11am on 18 June 2024:  Family Hubs Network are pleased to announce that they are co-hosting a ‘Family Hubs Five Years On’ event with Spurgeons, which will take place in Parliament for all MPs in June. On behalf of FHN's co-founders, Lord Farmer and Dr Samantha Callan, Spurgeons CEO, Ian Soars and event sponsor, Sally-Ann Hart MP, they would like to invite representatives from local authorities and other stakeholders implementing Family Hubs to be a part of it. 


Due to venue capacity, they can host two representatives per local authority.


Please contact Sophie Earl for details.

Regional Master Classes:  Each year our 14 Councils and Trusts share their good practice across the breadth of children’s services in the form of online Master classes. Don’t miss your chance to book onto as many as you like and benefit from the wealth of experience the region brings! Booking is via the links below:


2nd May - 13:00-15:00

Presented by Dan Machin and Louise Spragg from Telford and Wrekin Council


14th May - 11:00-12:30

Presented by Niall O’Connor and Dijon Foster from City of Wolverhampton Council


13th June - 13:30-15:00

Presented by Jennifer Arries from Staffordshire County Council


1st July – 12:00-13:30

Presented by Michelle Warren, Daniel Atkins, and Nigel Jones from Warwickshire County Council


12th July – 09:30-11.00

Presented by Nicola Hale – Dudley MBC


More dates and classes will be announced soon!

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page