UPDATE NO 337 01 February 2019

Newsletters A brief summary of the main headlines and highlights for this week are shown below. Any tools, templates or documents needed for the actions required are provided here also. If you would like to know more about these workstreams or the others in the Programme, click on the main section icons shown above. At […]

Three children playing happily together


A brief summary of the main headlines and highlights for this week are shown below. Any tools, templates or documents needed for the actions required are provided here also. If you would like to know more about these workstreams or the others in the Programme, click on the main section icons shown above. At SESLIP we are always on the look-out for good ideas that might be better implemented regionally rather than locally. If you have any suggestions, please contact Richard Tyndall, SESLI Programme Manager.

UPDATE NO 337 01 February 2019


National Audit Office: Children’s Services Report


Ministers face calls for fresh investment for children’s social services after the public spending watchdog revealed that increasing numbers of LAC had caused councils to overspend by nearly £1bn.

The National Audit Office (NAO) Children’s Services Report said that nine out of 10 local authorities in England were unable to keep a lid on child protection budgets in 2017-18 because of big increases in care rates, particularly among teenagers with complex needs. 

This report sets out recent trends in pressures on children’s social care demand and activity and the response of both national and local government to these pressures. It also sets out analysis conducted to explore what is causing variations in children’s social care demand and activity between different local authorities. 

Action Required:

The report covers:

  • the pressures on children’s social care (Part One);
  • the response of national and local government to increasing demand for children’s social care (Part Two); and
  • our analysis of what is causing variations in demand for children’s social care between local authorities (Part Three).

The report is summarised by the Guardian here 

Or the full report can be found here


Complex LAC Project


What have we done so far?

The project has devised a tool kit that has been used by 12 South East authorities to better understand the needs of their most complex (and costly) looked after children. Information in relation to 817 children has been collected; it includes 55 separate factors covering needs, risks, vulnerabilities, placement costs, outcomes, stability and many other measures. The information has been collated and initial analysis has been completed and shared with the participating authorities. 

A workshop was held on 18 January to explore how best to use the data. The main applications identified links to assisting authorities in their LAC sufficiency planningand exploring the potential for more joined up commissioning

In addition to the data collection and analysis, discussions are also on-going with the DfE who are interested the project and its potential to influence future commissioning arrangements.

The project has also attracted interest from the Office of the Children’s Commissioneras part of her work to campaign for fair and transparent funding for children’s services.

Action Required:

What are we planning to do next?  

Following on from the 18 January workshop we are planning to:

  • Develop a model complex LAC sufficiency document pre-populated with data gathered from the project (for each of the participating LAs)
  • Explore key themes, issues and differences highlighted by the data
  • Design a market position statement describing the regions needs for complex LAC
  • Explore the appetite for joined up commissioning for some LAC services across the region (this may be thematic, sub-regional or other possible variations)
  • Setting up an event to share some of the key findings from the project with providers of services to investigate their interest in alternative commissioning models (i.e. moving away from spot-purchased placements)
  • Share some of the key findings from the project to date with Health colleagues (NHS England)

The work will be presented to the regional DCS group on 22 March 2019, where priorities for the next phase of the project will be agreed.  

Please contact Mark Evans (details below) for more information


2019 Self Assessments


The Triad peer challenge sessions start on Wednesday 13 February with Triad 6, now a duo, Bracknell Forest and West Sussex. (Southampton’s diary planning has been overtaken by corporate imperatives and efforts to reorganise have failed).We have now clarified that Triad 3 meeting on 15 February is actually a Quartet: Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Slough and Milton Keynes. In other news, Triad 2, Kent, Portsmouth and Reading have postponed to a date to be announced.

Oxfordshire and Southampton 2019 self-assessments have been uploaded onto DCS-only area of website. We look forward to receiving Ofsted Annual Conversation letters as when they are available for circulation here.

For access to this page please consult your DCS or Isabelle Gregory (details below).

Action Required:

17/19 local authorities have asked for SESLIP team feedback on their draft self-assessments, and one authority has requested a review of their second draft.

12 reviews have been completed and returned. As and when each authority releases their finalised self-assessment we will add it to the library on the web site.

Triad 1 – East Sussex, Surrey and Wokingham on Thursday 28 February 2019

Triad 2 – Kent, Reading and Portsmouth postponed to a date to be announced

Triad 3 – Hampshire, IoW, Milton Keynes and Slough on Friday 15 February 2019

Triad 4 – Medway, Oxfordshire and Windsor and Maidenhead also on Friday 15 February 2019

Triad 5 – Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire and West Berkshire on Tuesday 26 February 2019

Triad 6 – Bracknell Forest and West Sussex on Wednesday 13 February 2019

Please contact Isabelle Gregory (details below) for detailed information for these events.


22 March – Regional Improvement Summit with DCSs and Lead Members


The arrangements for the Regional Improvement Summit have now been confirmed. There will  be a modest launch of the Regional Improvement Plan for 30 minutes before the lunch break on the day of the scheduled meeting of DCSs and Lead Members. No further activities are planned.

Action Required:

In addition to the DCSs and Lead Members, we have invited DfE, Ofsted, ADCS and LGA guests to join us for the formal launch, and to join us for lunch afterwards. The regional improvement plan itself will be signed off at the SESLIP Steering Group meeting scheduled for Friday 15 March.


What Works Evidence Store


What Works Evidence Store – A new body of evidence looking at the effectiveness of practice models and interventions in children’s social care has been launched to help social workers make better decisions. 

Action Required:

The ‘evidence store’, from the government-funded What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care, so far contains systematic reviews of 11 programmes including family drug and alcohol courts, solution focused brief therapy and kinship care.


SESLIP Children’s Workforce Network Conference Call 12th February 13.30-15.00


At our next call we will be joined by representatives of the What Works Centre to discuss their work in relation to children’s social care workforce wellbeing. They have launched a programme to work with local authorities to explore and evaluate existing initiatives and to propose new approaches to improving workforce well being. Through the call they will be exploring work already underway in the region and looking for local authority partners for some of their new initiatives. 

Action Required:

Invites to the meet are already circulated to staff in most SE authorities (generally service manager, principal SW or HR lead). If you would like to add someone to the invitation list please contact Mark Evans (details below). More about the programme can be found here.

Reminders from previous weeks


Task and finish group – Attendance and children missing education


Mike Stoneman from Portsmouth is convening a task and finish group of colleagues to consider issues around attendance and children missing education. The purpose of the group is to look at best practice across the South East and potential solutions in terms of the work local authorities are doing to address the following key issues identified by the SESLIP AD Education Network:

  • Persistent school absence
  • Fixed term and permanent exclusions
  • Reduced timetables that go beyond 6 weeks
  • Elective home education
  • Inappropriate alternative provision or exclusion by another name

Action Required:

The aim is to hold at least two meetings this term (spring 2019) before going back to the AD Network later in the year with a report detailing some best practice and recommendations. 

The first of these meetings has now been fixed for 2.30pm Thursday 7 March in Newbury. We already have volunteers from Oxfordshire, East Sussex, Wokingham and West Berkshire who will be joining the meeting which will be chaired by Mike from Portsmouth.

If you or a colleague would like to be involved in this group, please contact Mike directly mike.stoneman@portsmouthcc.gov.uk


Reducing Parental Conflict Challenge Fund


As part of the Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) Programme, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is launching a £2.7 million Challenge Fund that will provide grant funding to innovative projects, to gather learning on what works to reduce parental conflict.

Full details can be found here.  Bids are required by mid February 2019

Action Required:

The RPC Challenge Fund will allocate grants through two strands: 

A Digital Support for Families strand: £1.6 million is available to provide grant funding to innovative projects that will test what works digitally to support and maintain engagement with disadvantaged families to reduce parental conflict. 

A Support for Disadvantaged Families strand: A further £1.1 million is available to test what works to support disadvantaged families that are at greater risk of parental conflict, where there is limited existing evidence.


AD Safeguarding Network – meeting dates for 2019-20


Meetings are now booked for the rest of the year and early into 2020.  The dates are:

  • 8th March 2019
  • 7th June 2019 
  • 6th September 2019 
  • 6th December 2019 (joint with East of England)
  • 6th March 2020

Action Required:

Further information can be obtained from Mark Evans (contact details below)

For the latest membership of the network, please click here

Tools & Templates

What Works Centre Evidence Store

The National Audit Office Children’s Services Report is here

2019-20 Memorandum of Understanding – Blank available for downloading here

SESLIP Leadership Development Prospectus

2019-20 SESLIP Regional Improvement Planning – all you need to know is here

National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers’ First Year Report – This was published in the Autumn and sets the findings of the National Adviser for Care Leavers following his first year in role. The report is structured around the 5 identified priorities for care leavers and goes on to provide examples of good practice from local authorities that he has visited. It also sets out aspirations for 2019-2020. The full report can be found here

The national protocol on reducing unnecessary criminalisation of looked-after children and care leavers is here

The What Works Centre Analysis of LAC Rates 2012-17 is here

Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division Key Note Address: “Crisis; What Crisis”

ADCS Safegaurding Pressures 6 report is here

There have been three reports published in 2018 on the state of financing in Children’s Services; they are:

 SEND Inspection Preparation: Self Evaluation Framework Peer Review Guidance

The MoC area of the Seslip website now includes the latest versions of key documents, including the:

Contact Details

Data Benchmarking: Luke Ede (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07925 148597

South East Grid for Learning – Consortium Manager: Krista Pickering (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07872 014083

SESLIP Consultant: Isabelle Gregory (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07931 586784

CSC Workforce, PSW and AD Safeguarding Network Lead: Mark Evans (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07803 147072

Adoption; Fostering; Kinship and Early Help Regional Networks: Rebecca Eligon (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07944 996219

SESLI Programme Manager: Richard Tyndall (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07880 787007

S.E. Region SEND Network Programme Co-ordinator: Sheelagh Sullivan (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)