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Regional Update – November 2022

From our Liberty Protection Safeguards DCS Sponsor:

When the Regional Team put together the schedule, giving each DCS the opportunity to write these introductory segments of your monthly newsletter, they clearly weren’t expecting my diary to have been totally consumed by an ILACS, this month. We had been expecting this for the last year, so it is a relief to finally get that Monday morning call. It seems that autumn has been a busy time for the region’s inspectors, with not just us in Dudley hosting them, but Stoke, Solihull, Walsall, Shropshire, Coventry and Birmingham also receiving a visit, in one form or another. Nevertheless, whilst inspections are all consuming, obviously we must get on with business as usual, whether that is for our own organisation or collaborating as a region. So really important for me to still contribute this month.

The Liberty Protection Safeguards workstream is one of three special purpose pillars that sit within the Regional Priority Plan. It really does do what it says on the tin. Initiated last year, its single purpose is to steer a successful roll out of this new guidance across the West Midlands. Our challenge, similar to Deprivation of Liberty, is to get front line practitioners skilled enough to recognise when they need to apply the guidance and proficient enough to be able to employ best practice, whilst acknowledging that for many, this will not be an everyday feature of their caseload, particularly as this only applies to 16- and 17-year-olds, not younger children. So, as we start to understand more fully the timeline for implementation, which has been delayed at least twice, I would ask that as senior leaders you keep your eyes open for communications, that will be distributed as we get closer.

Thinking again, just for a moment, about inspection, I have no doubt that most of you have played your part in at least one this year, and if you haven’t, I expect you are preparing for a call very soon. Nevertheless, and whatever the outcome for your organisation, remember, we are all Outstanding at something. So, thank you for bringing your Outstanding to the children and families of the West Midlands!

Best wishes

Catherine Driscoll

Cost-of-living crisis:

Recognising that each local authority area will bring their own lens to addressing issues caused by the cost-of-living crisis, the DCS

Network have set aside time during their December meeting to share experience and ideas. In the meantime, our Regional Chair, Emma Bennett has written on the subject for this weeks ADCS blog. We would encourage you to take time to read this. It can be found here.

Senior Leadership Networking Event (30th November):

This is our once-a-year opportunity to bring together all our DCS’s, Trust CEO’s and their leadership teams. This year we will be taking the opportunity to drive forward our Regional Priority Plan.

The target audience is directors of children’s services and trust CEO’s, and their assistant directors, including those with responsibility for education and skills; social care; early help; and quality assurance. Invites were sent out in May, but if it is not in your calendar, please contact the Regional Team.

Social Work Workforce Project Papers launch:

We are pleased to present the completed Creativity and Wellbeing of the social work workforce documents and executive summary. Sandeep Virk and Emma Kirkland-Krumbein with collaboration and input from social work and childrens social care workforce colleagues, have developed proposals that have the potential to change the social work workforce landscape within the West Midlands. The papers highlight some of the great practice around the region The papers have been shared with DCS’s and we will be sending an update in a future newsletter to share any actions that the West Midlands ADCS Network would like to take forward. We would love to hear which ideas that you would like to take forward on a regional or organisational level!


Whilst still a little way off, we wanted to mention two things:

· The next edition of Regional Update will be published a week early, on 16th December.

· The Regional Team Office will be closed from 5pm on 23rd December and will reopen at 9am on 4th January.

Regional Induction Handbook:

As agreed at the senior leadership event in 2021, we have been working with a colleague in Dudley to produce an online regional Induction handbook for all those new and existing to better understand the regional ADCS network and workstreams. We have shared the draft linked to the regional website with some colleagues in the region and have made some changes. Please do take a first look at the handbook as this is designed to support all colleagues to better understand the connectivity of the WM ADCS and your role in this.

The link can be found here.

Leadership Programmes:

We are currently taking interest for another round of the Aspirant Leaders Programme, should we proceed to commission a further round in the coming year.

We are also looking to commence an additional leadership course for Women of Colour. This would be aimed at those in middle management up to HOS level.

Please contact to register your interest in either of these programmes.

Key Events:

Mentor-Mentee requests to social work staff:

The West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership Mentoring Scheme has just been launched as part of their Continuous Improvement Funding from the Department for Education. The scheme is available to any qualified social workers or managers. The content of mentee applications will be kept confidential, though line managers must indicate separately that they support the application, and the mentee will be facilitated to attend mentoring sessions.

View the full information and step by step guidance on their website: Apply to become a mentee

PSW Network Master Classes:

It is with great pleasure that the West Midlands PSW Network are running a second programme of virtual Masterclasses until March 2023. The Free masterclasses are aimed at colleagues from all areas of children’s services in addition to children’s social care. We particularly encourage a mix of all seniorities where all levels of experience are welcomed. As well as this being a great opportunity to learn and share best practice which you can add to your CPD records, this is also an opportunity to build connections within the region!

Please see the flyer, here, where you will find a list of masterclasses and links to sign up via Eventbrite. You can sign up to as many classes as you wish. More classes to follow at a later date.

BALI programme:

Facilitated by The Staff College, the BALI programme is aimed at experienced middle leaders working in children's services, who identify themselves as being from a Black or Asian background and have support of the organisation that employs them.


Social Work Leadership Pathways Programme:

As many of you are aware there are also four new pathways which are free to access which cover CPD at management and senior levels. Frontline are taking applications for 2023 and if you have an interest, please get in touch with them directly or with the regional team to reserve places on each course.

Details can be found here.

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