In common with all of the other regions, the West Midlands operates a sector led Regional Improvement and Innovation Alliance. The Alliance aims to deliver the ambitions in the Challenge 2021 programme through:


Fully accountable networks structure - members/delegates from all Local Authorities/Children’s Trusts in the West Midlands, representatives are of the appropriate level and suitably qualified to take decisions and ensure that individual network action plans are progressed to assist the region in delivering against Challenge 2021


Strategic Performance

Local Authorities/Children’s Trusts have agreed to sharing data and intelligence to inform the progress of Challenge 2021 and to target activity to support improvement. It has been agreed to share the national indicator set for social care on a quarterly basis with the LGA and the DfE. Quarterly data is shared in the region to support improvement work in individual councils and trusts.



Local Authorities have agreed to complete an annual Self Evaluation approved by their Chief Executive and  Lead Member. Local Authorities have agreed to share their Self Evaluation with other participating West Midlands Local Authorities and agreed Local Government Association representatives.



Local Authorities have agreed to their Self Evaluation being reviewed by a Moderation Panel (or other moderation arrangements as they develop during the lifetime of the MOU), the membership of which is agreed by DCS. Importantly Local Authorities also agree to any areas of concerns or potential being identified by the moderation arrangements being raised and discussed.


Peer Challenge

Regional peer challenge events are a useful platform for Local Authorities receiving feedback from peers as to suggested areas of improvement, but also provide a critical-friend in offering suggested areas of improvement, based on the judgement of the Moderation Panel and the content of available Self Evaluations. It is important that Local Authorities are fully respectful of each other within the process.


Improvement Plans

The region has agreed that individual improvement plans are produced  as a result of any improvements identified in the completion of the Self Evaluation, via the Moderation Process and the Peer Challenge process. DCS‘s are committed to sharing their improvement plans with other Local Authorities in the Region.


Honest conversations

A fundamental pillar of the regional improvement alliance is for DCS/Trust CXs holding honest conversations with their peers; alerting colleagues with there are performance shortfalls that may create risks to the level of service and opportunities available to children, young people and families and the satisfaction of any statutory requirements. In these circumstances any concerns/alerts will be escalated immediately to the Programme Governance Board


Peer Reviews

As a result of their improvement plan DCS will consider and request peer reviews from within the region, where there are areas of particular concerns and specific identified areas of improvement. DCS will provide the accommodation necessary to allow the identified Peer Review Team to undertake the peer review. DCS/Trust CX have agreed to allow wherever possible suitable peer reviewers from within their Local Authorities to join Peer Review Teams formed to deliver specific peer reviews. Peer reviews will be delivered to a specification to be agreed by the Programme Governance Board. It is important that Peer reviewed Local Authorities and Peer Reviewers will be respectful of each other at all times.

Governance and Reporting


A Programme Governance Board has been formed and meets quarterly to ensure that performance and progress of the programme is maintained respecting any statutory requirements and/or guidance. The Governance Board Structure includes Lead Member, Local Authority Chief Executive, Local Authority Deputy Chief Executive, West Midlands Children’s Services Chair, Programme Strategic Lead and Local Government Association representation.


The Programme Governance Board will also ensure that any funding or financial contributions generated to support the delivery of Challenge 2021 and the Regional Improvement Alliance is spent appropriately.


All Local Authorities and Children’s Trusts are engaged formally via a signed Memorandum of Understanding

Current four broad areas of improvement across the region


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West Midlands Children's Services Regional Network

Solihull MBC, Council House, 5th Floor East, Manor Square, Solihull, West Midlands, B91 3QB

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