UPDATE NO 437 22 January 2021

Newsletters 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 […]

Three children playing happily together


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 (details below). 

Our Regional Improvement Plan for 2020-2021 can be found here.

UPDATE NO 437 22 January 2021


Take Your Place – the future leaders programme for the South East


Common myths about leadership: why it is good for you and how your leadership can reduce stress for others 

Date: 1st March 2020 14.00-16.30 online workshop (MS Teams)

Target Audience: Service Managers, Heads of Service and other 3rd tier managers working in Children’s Services (including children’s social care, education, and other services) in the South East 

Cost: There are no additional fees for this training, it is being provided as part of your authority’s subscription to the SESLI Programme

Booking: The course will be limited to 20 participants and places can be booked by contacting Mark Evans (details below)

Action Required:

Overview – This workshop has been created following research completed for SESLIP to identify the learning needs of future leader of children’s services across the South East. The workshop will explore: 

  • Fears people have about leadership and how to allay them: why being a leader can reduce your stress 
  • Experiences of leadership in the context of the pandemic and what it has shown us: 
  • How leaders can try to reduce stress for others 
  • Reflections from children’s services leaders in the region 

The workshop will be delivered by Alison Jeffery (DCS Portsmouth) and Lucy Butler (DCS West Sussex) supported by SESLIP.  It will also include opportunities for group work.

STOP PRESS: 2 PLACES REMAINING … contact Mark Evans (details below)


National Commissioning and Contracting Training Conferences


Chris Glynn of NCCTC writes

“In the response to these challenging times and following the cancellation of the conference – the NCCTC has brought together digital presentations and supporting papers for some of the approaches taken by Local Authorities to improve sufficiency.

“It would be a great help to us if you or your colleagues would provide feedback on the pages and help get the message out there by cascading it to colleagues that might find it useful.

“Please send any feedback to me at ccrglynn@btinternet.com and we will use it to shape the content of the next conference and of further digital presentations. 

Action Required:

“The range of the presentations are significant including your own ‘South East Needs Led Commissioning Project’ presented by Mark Evans – alongside other strategic development like Liverpool Combined Region’s use of social enterprise to shape the residential market, service-oriented developments from Greater Manchester’s application of No Wrong Door, Stronger Families Norfolk and British Red Cross’s work with UASC and much more.

“We were grateful to be able to include the ‘South East Needs Led Commissioning Project’ as part of our series on Sufficiency – Mark Evans presented very well on one of the more strategic approaches to shifting the dial of our current relationships and I for one hope that it is successful.

“Early responses largely from our organising group about the presentations has has been positive about the range and applicability of the presentation to the dilemma face by Local Authorities or groups of Authorities nationally

“The Organising Group is chaired by one of your own Martin Cross (Children’s Contracts and Commissioning Manager West Sussex) – and his introduction to the presentations focusses on that applicability.”


New open access resources for managers of practice supervisors


Research in Practice has published open access resources for managers of practice supervisors

The Practice Supervisor Development Programme (PSDP) has released over 30 new resources, inspired by the ‘Supervising the Supervisor’ programme, to support learning and development for all middle leaders who manage practice supervisors in children’s social care.

Action Required:

The learning resources are organised into five key themes:

The learning resources are available on the open access website – Resources and Tools for Practice Supervisors. In each section you will find a mixture of knowledge briefings, presentations, films and learning tools:

  • Learning tools can be used to review and audit your skills, for example by reflecting on your approach to leadership, or to support you to consider how you can influence supervision in a certain area such as embedding observations of supervision.
  • Knowledge briefings have a strategic focus and have been developed to support you in building an organisational culture in which practice supervisors, practitioners and excellent standards of social work practice can thrive.


Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC)


Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) is a five-year programme set up by the Department for Education (DfE) to support local authorities improve their work with families. The aim of the programme is to enable more children to stay at home in stable family environments so that fewer children need to be taken in to care. Eighteen local authorities are being supported to embed one of three whole system change projects, developed by Leeds, Hertfordshire, and North Yorkshire, that have the most promising evidence from the Children’s Social Care Innovation programme of safely reducing the number of children being taken into care.

Action Required:

Welcome to the Strengthening Families, Protecting Children learning website! This site hosts the Strengthening Families Journal and additional material to capture learning from the Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme. It connects activity across the programme with wider research and policy, setting the scene for the role innovation has to play in children’s social care.


DfE Project Phase 2


The project is well underway and aims to develop a specification for new and innovative provision for looked-after children – with four participating authorities (West Sussex, Kent, Portsmouth and Milton Keynes) on the Project Team. The first stage of the project is to collect some detailed information from the 4 participating LAs to feed into an outline specification.

The webpage for the project is here: DfE Project Phase 2

Action Required:

We are now setting up a project-specific Commissioners’ Network to allow non-participating authorities to be kept informed of progress and timelines as well as exemplars of good practice

To join this network, please email Isabelle Gregory (contact details below) – by Friday 29 January.


Urgent Review of the Memorandum of Cooperation (Agency Social Workers)


Following discussions with colleagues in multiple SE authorities there is an urgent need to review the MoC. This is based  serious concerns that the MoC is no longer working well. We think there are two main challenges.

Firstly, three South East authorities continue to be outside the South East MoC, they are Slough Children’s Trust, Surrey and West Sussex. Approaches have been made to all three to explore if they are open to joining or re-joining the MoC.

Secondly there are anectodical reports of authorities paying rates beyond the maximum rates agreed and using other approaches outside the spirit of the MoC  (e.g. creation of managerial project roles, paying hotel/travel costs etc).  The MoC was initially successful with agency numbers in the region dropping (against the national trend), but it now appears to be having much less impact.

Action Required:

To address this issue we are proposing a 2 stage process. 

  1. Survey of all SE authorities to clarify the current use of agency staff, rates paid and views about the future of the MoC arrangement (this will be distributed to DCSs on Monday 25 January for completion by Friday 12 February) 
  2. The information gathered in the survey will be distributed to all DCSs by Friday 19 February for discussion and decision at the regional meeting scheduled to take place on the Friday 26 February  

Historically the MoC worked well from inception in 2016 through to the end of 2018, but can only be effective with a strong commitment from all SE authorities. Please can you prioritise completion of the survey to help us make an informed decision about the future of the South East MoC.  

To review the current version of the MoC follow this link

If you have any questions about this item please contact Mark Evans (details below).


Social Work Week 2021 – register for tickets now


Kate Metcalf, Regional Engagement Lead (South East), Social Work England writes,

“Dear South East Sector Partners, 

“We are delighted to release our programme for Social Work Week 2021, a week-long series of events, and the first of its kind in England. We invite you and your colleagues to join us by registering for tickets now. View the full programme and register for sessions here


Action Required:

“Social Work Week 2021 Learn. Connect. Engage. 8 to 12 March

“Social Work Week is a virtual programme, bringing together over 70 sessions including speakers, artistic content, workshops, debate, discussions, and wellbeing drop ins. It is open to anyone with an interest in social work in England, including professionals, students, educators, and those with lived experience. Social Work Week offers the opportunity for social workers to come together, reflect and learn, and is ideal for continuing professional development (CPD).

“We would really appreciate it if you could post on social media about your plans to join us at Social Work Week using the hashtag #SocialWorkWeek2021

“Kate 0114 553 3104”   


Mental Health at Work – Our Frontline


You support us, we support you

Our Frontline is a partnership between ShoutSamaritansMindHospice UK and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of CambridgeFind out more about us here, join us on our social channels below, and see some of the latest real-life stories from Our Frontline.

Twitter or Instagram or Facebook or Linkedin

Action Required:

There are tailored support pages for staff working in schools; and staff working in social care. Also for social care workers, to talk by text, text FRONTLINE to 85258 any time. To talk by phone, call 0300 131 7000 from 7am to 11pm if you’re in England.

Reminders from previous weeks


Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak

Action Required:

This guidance includes information on:

  • Attendance – including confirmation of who should attend (including in alternative provision and special schools) and how attendance should be recorded
  • Testing – including confirmation that the testing programme can continue in secondary schools
  • Workforce – including advice for those who are extremely clinically vulnerable
  • Free School Meals
  • Educational visits – confirmation that no visits should take place during this period
  • Remote education – including further information on remote education expectationsAccountability expectations – including inspections, exams and assessments


WWCSC – Unlocking the facts: young people referred to secure children’s homes


In December 2020, What Works for Children’s Social Care published Unlocking the facts: young people referred to secure children’s homesThe report provides a picture of young people in England referred to secure accommodation for welfare reasons – their pathways; their placement in either a secure children’s home or alternative accommodation; and their outcomes following referral. 

The report makes five recommendations, the summary report is here. The full report is here.

Action Required:

Secure Children’s Homes (SCHs) in the UK are licensed to deprive young people referred to them by court of their liberty.  Young people placed in SCHs are either sentenced or on remand through the justice system or placed due to local authority concerns that a young person is a serious risk to themselves or others.  At present SCHs lack sufficient capacity to provide a place for all young people referred to them for welfare reasons. When this happens, local authorities must provide an alternative accommodation that meets the young person’s needs and keeps them safe. With little knowledge of the experiences of young people from England who receive a secure order for welfare reasons, this study set out to explore and compare similarities and differences between the journeys and outcomes of young people placed in SCHs and those housed in an alternative accommodation.   


Ombudsman urges councils to scrutinise services for children in care


The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman is highlighting the experiences of children in the care system – and the difficulties they face when councils get things wrong.

In a new report published in December, the Ombudsman is sharing the cases of children who have been let down by the very authorities who should be looking after their interests.

Action Required:

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:

“Each case highlighted in this report is a case too many, and reflects the real life experiences of some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“While these cases reflect a time before the Covid-19 pandemic, we know the system is under even more pressure today. Although the councils’ actions in these cases were disappointing, we want to drive home the importance of learning from mistakes. In doing so this can help avoid repetitions and improve the lives and opportunities for all children in care.
“I am issuing this report so councils providing children’s services can use the learning and reflect on their procedures and processes. At every turn, I invite them to ask themselves, ‘would this be good enough for my child?’”


Ofqual consultation on alternative arrangements for summer 2021 exams.


Ofqual says, “The impact of the pandemic means that, in line with the approach set out for GCSEs, AS and A levels, it is the Department’s policy position that external exams for many vocational, technical and other general qualifications should not take place as planned” 

Alternative arrangements for the award of VTQs and other general qualifications in 2021 Approach to awarding qualifications where exams do not take place.

Action Required:

Through these joint consultations, Ofqual and the Department for Education want to hear the views of students who were due to take their exams, their parents and carers, their teachers, school and college leaders and others who have an interest, including further and higher education providers, and employers. 

More information is here for vocational, technical and other general qualifications, the responses are being collected online here

More information is here for GCSE, AS and A Levels, the responses are being collected online here

Both these consultations close at 29 January 2021 at 23.45


Future dates for Network meetings


AD Safeguarding: Friday 12 March 2021 –  for more information from Mark Evans (contact details below)

QA Network: Wednesday 10 March 2021. Confidential documents have been posted on the QA restricted pages – access to these pages and more information from Diane Williamson (contact details below)

Fostering Network: 10.30am Thursday 28 January. More information from Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

Action Required:

SEND SE19: More information from Tracey Maytas (contact details below)

Data Benchmarking: Thursday 11 March 2021 More information from Alastair Lee (contact details below)

AD EducationFriday 29 January 2021 – 1.30pm – 3.30pm – more information from Chris Owen (contact details below)

Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board: Tuesday 20 April 2021. More information from Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

Tools & Templates

We have produced a Regional Improvement Plan which will underpin activities in 2020-2021

Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools Guidance for all schools in England January 2021 published by DfE 7 January 2021

Children looked after in England including adoptions published by DfE 18 December 2020

IntegratED Annual Report 2020 published 18 December 2020

COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance report – Chapter 7 CYP published by Public Health England on 17 December 2020

Ofsted COVID-19 series of briefings published on 15 December 2020

Careless: Helping to improve council services to children in care published by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman 10 December 2020

A systematic review of early years degrees and employment pathways published by EPI on 10 December 2020

Unlocking the facts: young people referred to secure children’s homes published by WWCSC on 8 December 2020

Speak for Change published by the Oracy APPG on 1 December 2020

Applying behavioural insights to increase female students’ uptake of STEM subjects at A level  published by DfE on 26 Novemebr 2020

School and college staff wellbeing: report published by DfE on 26 November 2020

Anne Longfield: My vision for a better care system You Tube speech on 24 November 2020

Introducing the changing face of early childhood series published by Nuffield Foundation 16 November 2020

Children Missing Education published by LGA on 16 November 2020

COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance report published by PHE, updated on 12 November 2020 (see Ch7: Children and Young People)

Fostering in England 2019 to 2020: main findings published by Ofsted 12 November 2020

The children who no-one knows what to do with published by the Children’s Commissioner on 11 November 2020

Changes to statutory induction for teachers during national roll-out (formerly NQT) published by the DfE 4 November 2020

Evaluation of the Family Safeguarding Model 2020 published by the DfE 4 November 2020

Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme: insights and evaluation published by the DfE 2 November 2020

National Tutoring Programme (NTP) launched on 2 November 2020

Guidance to improve speech, language and communication (SLC) in the early years  published by DfE on 30 October 2020

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 and Information Manager: Luke Ede (East Sussex)


07925 148597

LGA Children’s Improvement Adviser: Helen Watson (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07810 011892

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)