UPDATE NO 368 06 September 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. Our Regional Improvement Plan for 2019-20 can be found here.

UPDATE NO 368 06 September 2019


What Works for Children’s Social Care: Schwartz Rounds Evaluation


What Works for Children’s Social Care is delighted to announce an expansion of the on-going project evaluating the use of Schwartz Rounds in children’s social care. The project will be expanded to six additional local authorities or trusts, and the application process is now open.

Action Required:

Although it is still too early to report findings from the projects already underway in Haringey, Liverpool, Nottinghamshire, Walsall, Warwickshire and West Sussex, the qualitative feedback from attendees has been positive. This expansion of the current study will give us the best chance to evaluate whether Schwartz Rounds can make a difference in children’s services.

More information about the project and the application process can be found here. Please send completed application form to wwcprogrammes@nesta.org.uk by 6pm on Thursday 12 September.


AD Education Network – next meeting Friday 13 September


Our next network meeting is next week: Friday 13 September.  The focus for the agenda will be to continue our discussions about Children Missing Education.  Mike Stoneman from Portsmouth will lead this item for us, bringing together thoughts and recommendations from the task and finish group he has been chairing. Other agenda items include:

  • Data requirements for understanding children missing education;
  • effective strategies to prevent exclusion and develop inclusive and restorative practice;
  • strategies for working with LAC and previously LAC children;
  • ofsted annual conversations

Action Required:

Please contact Alison Rendle (details below) for further information. If you would like to bring along a colleague with particular responsibility for children missing education, please let Alison know so that she can keep track of numbers.

More information on membership here and on activities here


Welcome to Alison Michalska, new LGA Children’s Improvement Advisor – South East


The Local Government Association has awarded the contract for the South East Children’s Improvement Advisor to Alison Michalska. Alison is a hugely experienced leader and is currently the DCS, DASS and Deputy Chief Executive for Nottingham City Council. In addition, Alison has also recently been President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and plays an influential role in working with key agencies and organisations in the development of national policy. 

Action Required:

Alison is retiring from Nottingham City Council and begins her LGA contract on 1 October 2019. She is looking forward to working with councils across the South East to support their aspirations and plans for sector led improvement in children’s services.   


President of the Family Division’s recommended changes to family law


Katy Block of ADCS writes

You may recall that Lord Justice McFarlane published a public law report, which included a series proposed reforms to alleviate pressures on the family courts in the short term and address differences in practice and outcomes in the longer term, at the ADCS annual conference in early July.   A separate report and set of recommendations relating to private law proceedings in the family courts also came out at the same time (follow link to see this report too).

Approx. 80 public law recommendations have been put forward, some of which have quite significant policy/ practice/ workforce/ financial implications, requiring changes to both guidance and legislation.  Others seem broadly helpful and are in line with wider priorities e.g. greater focus on sector-led improvement, sharing good practice, standardisation of templates, letters and agendas, renewed focus on culture, less rigidity around the 26-week deadline.

Action Required:

As the consultation on these proposals is largely taking place over the summer months there has not/will not be the opportunity to consider them in detail at ADCS policy committees before the deadline. It would immensely helpful to receive some specific thoughts on the following proposals to be included in the Association’s final response:

  • Refocusing the role of LA legal advisors; renewed emphasis given to staying out of court via the role moving beyond simple threshold decisions (P37, 65)
  • IROs to have ‘more teeth,’ (P38)
  • Renewed focus on pre-proceedings, use of pre-proceedings earlier, Cafcass to take up a role in pre-proceedings  particularly in relation to new borns (P61, 64, 71, 97)
  • Revision of the social work evidence template (SWET) and development of a SWET specifically for urgent notifications (P94)
  • Greater emphasis on SG assessment, creation of an interim SGO, more training for SGs and a review of SG funding (P119 – 122).

Contributions should be shared on or before Friday 13 September.  If you plan on making a local submission, the final deadline is Monday 30 September.

Katy BlockPolicy Officer, Association of Directors of Children’s Services 0161 826 9490 

Reminders from previous weeks


Memorandum of Cooperation – Review of effectiveness


We are carrying out a piece of research in relation to the perceived effectiveness of the Memorandum of Cooperation. This has been prompted by the DCS group who have concerns that the MoC maybe losing its effectiveness.  Since inception of the MoC in 2016 use of agency workers across the region has reduced from 16.5% to 15% (despite an overall increase of 322 new C&F SW posts across the region in the same period), the vacancy rate has also reduced from 16.8% to 15.6%.

Action Required:

Despite these changes we know there is huge variability across the region and last year saw a small increase in the use of agency staff (0.2%), consequently we will be conducting a survey with a view to identifying how we can re-energise the MoC.

If you have views about what should be included please let Mark Evans (details below) know.

Tools & Templates

We have produced a Regional Improvement Plan which will underpin activities in 2019-20.

Children’s Commissioner Report on Homeless Children

The Good Childhood Report 2019 (The Children Society)

What Works Centre Updates – Trauma-informed models in out-of-home care

Nuffield Foundation Review of Special Guardianship published 2 August 2019

Interim results from Devolved Budgets pilots (What Works Centre) published 15 August 2019

A report by the Department for Education, Evaluation of regional adoption agencies

NCH Campaign for National Childhood Strategy

Children’s Commissioner Report on Childhood Vulnerability

Missing People has published research into the value of the return home interview (RHI).

What Works for Children’s Social Care: Intensive Family Preservation Services (IFPS) Review

Changes to compensation arrangements for survivors of violent crime

The DfE Review of Children in Need is here.

National Assessment and Accreditation System (NAAS): toolkit and examples of practice simulationsList of early adopter sites includes Hampshire and West Berks in the South East.

The Tackling Child Exploitation (TCE) Support Programme led by Research in Practice with The Children’s Society and University of Bedfordshire is appointed by the DfE to deliver a programme to tackle child exploitation. Over the next three years, every local authority area will be able to apply for ‘Bespoke Support’.  More information here and here

Children and young people’s advocacy in England – a report by the Children’s Commissioner

LGA‘s Early Help Resource Pack, with contributions from Early Intervention Foundation is for councillors to better understand their own local offer. 

The recent AD Safeguarding Network meeting highlighted the following links: 

New service models (e.g. Family Safeguarding, No wrong front door etc) Family Safeguarding HertfordshireNo Wrong Door EvaluationSocial Care Commentary on Using Models of PracticeOfsted Checklist for Implementing Models

Reunification: Reunification Guidance NSPCCReunification Implementation NSPCCReunification Leeds CC

Unexplained pupil exits from schools: A growing problem? The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published the most comprehensive analysis to date  using over a decade’s worth of Department for Education data. DfE’s Elective Home Education guidance for local authorities was updated on 2 April. Ofsted has published detailed figures revealing the scale of the problem with suspected illegal schools in England.

SESLIP Leadership Development Prospectus

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

Education Network: Chris Owen (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07825 862330

SESLIP Education Data Group Lead: Daryl Perilli (Brighton and Hove)


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)