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Regional Update – October 2023



The heading above maybe a little misleading. It is true that I am the DCS sponsor for our regional commissioning workstream. However, I am also Co-vice Chair of the DCS Network and the Chair of ADCS’s national policy committee for Health, Care and Additional Needs, alongside, of course, my day job as DCS in Warwickshire.


Despite all of the above, or maybe because of it, when the opportunity arose for the West Midlands to bid to become a pathfinder for a Regional Care Cooperative, I firmly advocated that the region should go for it. Not only this, but I also volunteered Warwickshire to be the lead authority. This may come as a surprise to any of you who read my ADCS blog expressing my doubts about Regional Care Co-operatives as they were originally described. What was really clear from the bid specification though, was that this included so many things which we have started to do already, or which we have wanted to take forward as a region.


I believe the regional work we do and our contributions to the national agenda, including our strong relationships with Whitehall, really illustrate that the West Midlands is a forward-thinking region. We have a great crowd of individuals who have a can-do attitude. I am privileged to be able to lead and represent these people, both at a local and regional level. Of course, where I can, I contribute my skill and knowledge to the conversation, but on an equal footing with everyone else around the table. That, in a nutshell is regional working.


None of us know if we will be successful with our bid, but regardless, we have learned a lot through the process. Moving forward, we know that we can use this knowledge to shape our own care and commission arrangements, with or without Pathfinder status. Furthermore, as we develop our plans, we will share our experience in a way that ensures we continue to shape national policy.


I mentioned, above, a great crowd of individuals who have a can-do attitude. By that, I meant you! I want to place on record my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed to the RCC bid, but regardless of your involvement, or not, everyone reading this update contributes, in their own way, to our success as a region. For this, and on behalf of DCS Network, I would like to thank you all.

Best wishes

Nigel Minns




Team Excellence Awards 2023:

On 22nd September we held our annual Team Excellence Awards. This year we hosted them at Edgbaston Stadium.


Each DCS and Trust CEO nominated their Team of Excellence and presented them to the region. Congratulations to all of the nominees.


The event brochure can be found here, please do take a look to see some of the excellent work that is happening around the region.


Next year we will be hosting the awards at Grand Station, in Wolverhampton on September 20th.


Big Thinking 2023:

On 17th October we held our third Big Thinking recruitment and retention symposium. The event was hosted by Catherine Driscoll, our DCS workforce sponsor and John Coleman, who chairs the Workforce Workstream.


As you will appreciate, there is no silver bullet that will resolve the complex issues of recruitment and retention, but the room was full of energy, and we left with five potential projects that we believe will help the situation. Over the next two months these will be worked up into viable recommendations for DCS Network to consider.


Watch this space for more details.


Workforce Programme Updates:

In our last newsletter you will have seen the leaders being congratulated for completing the LeadHERship in colour programme for women of colour aspiring to HOS roles. Just this week, we are starting our newest cohort of Breaking Through for women of colour aspiring to management. We know there are still interested parties for potential future cohorts of both programmes. We will be reviewing the programmes into the new year and will provide updates nearer this time. For now please contact the Regional Team or Ana Davies.


Secondment opportunities:

As part of ongoing grant arrangements West Midlands ADCS Network are looking to fill two short term post aimed at facilitating sector led improvement (SLI). These roles are:

· Sector Led Project Senior Officer, with a pay band commensurate with Head of Service (or equivalent) – this role will require the applicant to work with strategic leaders so as to develop best practice models across the region.

· Sector Led Project Support Officer, with pay commensurate with Senior Business Support Officer (or equivalent) – this role will require the applicant to support, at a practical and administrative level, the delivery of the project.


For more details click here, or otherwise contact Paul Brewster.


Please share, as appropriate with colleagues who do not receive Regional Update.


Applications close at noon on Monday 6th November.


The Participation Leads Network needs you:

Please can you complete this corporate parenting survey and share far and wide to inform next steps within the participation leads network. If you have any queries, please contact Abdul Kahar

Co-chair for Workforce workstream:

John Coleman welcomes an additional AD to join him as Co-chair. This is your chance to influence the regional workforce direction.


Interested? Please contact Ana Davies.





Key Events:


Growing Belonging & Compassion in our Schools & Communities

A Conference by the Staff College. Please take a look at this flyer for an upcoming Conference event on Growing Belonging in Schools & Communities, taking place on Tuesday 21st November at Clayton Hotel, Birmingham.


Putting Participation on the Map

27th October – We are well on our way to co-producing a shared learning and development structure across the West Midlands with young people and for young people and professionals, to make participation Everyone’s business. Want to know more, contact your LA lead for participation or Ana Davies.


Leading SEND/AP National Programme

The Staff College have collaborated successfully in the South West region of England in the last few years, offering a multi-agency SEND/AP leadership development programme for ambitious leaders keen to improve life outcomes for children and young people with SEND/AP and their families. They are now offering a similar programme on a national level.


The programme costs £1850 + VAT per person. More details can be found on the Staff College website.


To apply for a place on the programme, colleagues will need to complete this application form by the deadline of Friday 27th October 2023.


Regional Safeguarding Network Conference

On the 8th November we will be welcoming CP Chairs, IROs and Safeguarding Leads for our first RSN Conference. The Eventbrite has been shared with RSN leads who will select 3 colleagues to attend from their respective LAs.

WME workforce Hot Conference which covers all areas workforce. We Belong


An opportunity to reframe the recruitment and retention challenges that unite us all in the public sector by finding new opportunities to innovate and cultivate a culture of belonging, positioning the sector as an inclusive employer of choice.

We have some great speakers and by booking on the conference will also give you access to webinars pre and post conference. Read more on the programme outline and how to book here.

Free training:

WMTP - Birmingham City University Social Work Education, Policy and Practice (SWEPP) Research Cluster Webinar Series: Social Work on the Edge

The Social Work Education, Policy and Practice (SWEPP) Research Cluster at Birmingham City University is delighted to invite all colleagues to its first lunchtime webinar series, ‘Social work on the Edge’. Please see the attached poster for more details and for the MS Teams links to join; registration is not required, and all are welcome. Please contact SWEPP Co-Leads Dr Colin Watt or Dr Peter Simcock if you need any further information, please click here.

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