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Regional Update – May 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.

This month I pick up the baton for writing the introduction to regional update. Thank you to Jenny, my co-Vice-Chair who, last month offered some thoughts about recruitment and retention. She further developed these in a piece which she wrote for the ADCS blog, if you have not yet read it, I would encourage you to find five minutes to take a look.

My full-time role is Strategic Director - People at Warwickshire County Council. This makes me one of only three directors, within the regional network, with ultimate responsibility for adult, as well as children’s, services, however several others have significant responsibilities for other areas of their respective council, or trust. This leads me to say, that I doubt no two director of children’s services roles, anywhere in the country, are the same. Maybe that is what makes the job interesting, challenging and truly unique. Not a job for everyone, but if you think that your career path might lead you this way, I urge you to consider enrolling for the Staff College Upon Programme. Details of how to contact them are below

Earlier in the month the DCS’s met for two days at a development session. This was a great opportunity to come together and plan our priorities for the coming year. The regional team are now developing this into a Regional Priority Plan which we will be publishing at the end of June.

Considering some of the recent press coverage and ahead of the publication of the national review into the tragic deaths of Star and Arthur, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the whole region, to remind all of you just how valuable your work is, how grateful we are for it and how proud we are of you all.

Next month Tina Russell from Worcestershire will be writing this introduction, so by tribute to the Commonwealth Games, I now pass the baton on to her!

Best wishes

Nigel Minns

Regional Priority Plan:

As Nigel has already mentioned that the Regional Priority Plan should be published at the end of June, we can however tell you that the four main strands of this will be:

· Recruitment, retention, and staff development.

· Early help and targeted support, including Family Hubs roll out.

· Care leaver offer.

· Education response to the national agenda.

Culture and diversity and the outcomes of the Care Review will underpin everything within the plan.

Let’s Talk Family Hubs:

Members of the regional team were delighted to have been invited to the above event, hosted by colleagues from Coventry and aimed at ensuring the legacy for work which they have undertaken as part of CRABBB. The day was a great success, with each of the 14 local authority areas being represented. The aim is for this to become a community of practice, which will be overseen by the Early Help and Targeted Support workstream, as part of the Regional Priority Plan.

RIIA activity:

As CRABBB activity draws to an end we are looking to ensure that we capture both the learning and outcomes of the 21 individual projects which we have facilitated. An overview report will be published in early July and the regional team are talking to the leads of each strand. However, if you have any individual observations or comments, please email them to and one of the team will make contact.

Key Updates:

Invitation to a free face-to-face learning event on 30th June

Walsall have been lucky enough to have been supported by both the DFE and Hertfordshire in the implementation of the Family Safeguarding Model. The Family Safeguarding Model has completely changed the way in which they deliver services across Children’s Services and in the way in which they work with our partners, both operationally and strategically. This has contributed to an improvement in Walsall’s recent Ofsted judgement. Walsall consider that they have learned a lot along the way and are keen to share this learning with colleagues across the West Midlands. Whilst they understand that some of you will be using a different model, and some may be considering family safeguarding in the future, so they have balanced the learning to be widely applicable, with a focus on managing cultural change and working with fathers.

To this end they have planned an exciting interactive session which will describe their journey with a focus on managing cultural change, partnership working and working well with fathers. It would be suitable for team managers and group managers as it will emphasise the practical implications rather than focusing on the strategic direction. Places are limited so book early. There are several local car parks, and the venue is a short walk from New Street Station

Family Safeguarding, cultural change and working with fathers

  • Date, Thursday 30th June

  • Time 9.30-4.30

  • Venue; Fazeley room; Fazeley Studios, 191 Fazeley Street, Birmingham; B5 5SE

Please book via Eventbrite

Aspirant Leaders

We have 3 remaining places for the Aspirant Leaders Programme and welcome applicants from across the breadth of children’s services. DCS’s and Trust CEOs and assistant directors 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 leadership skills and will support the progress of those looking to move into AD roles within the next three years. Please see the flyer HERE.

Culture, Diversity and Anti-racist Leadership

Round 2 of the programmes will be running in person on 24th and 27th June. Please book your place via

The workshops offer an excellent opportunity for leadership development and to build a community of Anti-racist leadership in practice within the context of local government and children’s services. The programme is specifically developed to support development needs of ADs, Principal Social Workers, and Head of Service or other Level 2/3 leaders across children’s services.

Regional Care Leaver Offer Blueprint Launch

Plans are underway to Launch the Regional Care Leaver Offer Blueprint on the 21st June. Senior leaders have been invited to attend a co-produced event with key speakers from Local Government, the Care Leaver Covenant and most importantly, Care experienced young people. If you have received the invite please do ‘Send response’ and if you have not, please get in touch via We are keen to have senior representatives and decision makers in attendance.

Sharing Practice – Participation Leads network

Participation Leads network have been working hard to produce the Apprenticeship Guidance for care experienced young people and the Regional Participation strategy. Final copies will be circulated with QPPG for further comment and further detail will evolve to set the launch of the best practice documents for use across the West Midlands. Watch this space!


As you may be aware, Staff College have recently launched the third year of the DfE-funded Upon programme for aspiring Directors of Children’s Services, with applications now open until 13th June 2022.

They have had a good response but are keen to reach out before this year’s closing date to identify any other people who may be promising future Directors of Children’s Services. If you are interested in a DCS role now or in the near future, and consider that you might benefit from this programme, please follow this link for details about the programme or alternatively please contact Philip Emms Alex Hayes or Kate Merson

GatenbySanderson are again partnering with The Staff College and other colleagues to deliver the programme in 2022-23.

If you have any comments about the Regional Update, including additions to the mailing list, please CLICK HERE

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