Update no 565 14th July 2023

If you have any news that you would like included in our Friday Update, please contact Richard Tyndall (details below)

Three children playing happily together


Our Regional Improvement Plan for 2023-2024 can be found here

Our Impact Report published in March 2023 can be found here

If you would like to work for the programme, ESCC has advertised the SESLIP Freelance Consultant Approved List. To view the advert follow the link and choose the “Opportunities” tab then search on reference RFX1000055. Pease address all enquiries about this opportunity to Richard Tyndall (contact details below)


HENRY, healthy start, brighter future

LGA, working with HENRY, a national charity working to transform traditional approaches to obesity prevention, has organised an online conference on Tuesday 25 July 2023, 14:00 -15:30.


Janice Burberry, former Head of Public Health (Children and Families), Leeds City Council and Nicola Ellis, Consultant in Public Health , London Borough of Waltham Forest

There are HENRY programmes in Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.

Using data in the early years

Nesta are running “Using data in the early years – leveraging the value of linked data.

In person event at Nesta, 58 Victoria Embankment, EC4Y 0DS London, Wednesday 19 July, 11:00 – 17:00.


If you, or a colleague, are interested in attending please follow this link to register.

If you’d like more information, please contact rachel.wilcock@nesta.org.uk


Policy in Practice, Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion, The Promise Scotland, Swansea University and Care City. There will be an interactive data workshop in the afternoon where attendees will have the opportunity to explore some of the tools available to support them in gaining new insights from their data. Nesta hope it will give people the opportunity to meet with like-minded colleagues working in data, especially in the early years, to chat about their work.

Family Group Conferencing

On 4 July Foundations (what works centre for children and families) published the results from the largest randomised control trial (RCT) of family group conferences (FGCs) in the world, Read evaluation partner Coram reflecting on the experience of doing the research, and Practice Lead, Daybreak, giving insight into how and why FGCs are a critical tool for working with children and families.

Main Findings

The findings from the trial show that children whose families were referred for an FGC at pre-proceedings were significantly less likely to be in care 12 months later than children whose families were not referred for an FGC (36% compared to 45%). Referred children spent less time on average in care, and their cases were less likely to go to court. We also found that FGCs could lead to substantial cost-savings for local authorities, estimating a saving of £960 to local authorities per child in the first year, or £13,365 over three years.

Read the blogpost here

Condition of school buildings

On 28 June, NAO published Condition of school buildings. It estimates approximately 700,000 pupils attend schools which are in need of major refurbishment or rebuilding.

Main Findings

There is a significant gap between the funding available and that which DfE assesses it needs to achieve its aim for school buildings to be safe and in a good condition for those who learn and work there. Funding is also often used for urgent repairs rather than planned maintenance which, as DfE itself acknowledges, risks not offering good long-term value for money.

Take Your Place 2023

Applications for the 2023 Take Your Place cohort are now open. Closing date is 25 August 2023. The programme starts on 31 October 2023.

Take Your Place Leadership Development Programme

This is a free to access CPD leadership programme for third tier managers. The course will start with a residential on 31 October and 1 November 2023, followed by in person workshops on 23 November 2023, 17 January 2024 and a final session on 7 March 2024.  The workshops are being held in Reading at venue with good public transport links. Each SESLIP large authority has two places and small authorities a single place (we will also take names for reserves as last year not all authorities took up their full allocation). Your final nominations need to be endorsed by your DCS and details sent to mark@evansconsulting.co.uk. The deadline for applications is Friday 25 August 2023. Those nominated will be asked to complete a short online questionnaire with the Staff College to confirm their place.  More information is available in the flyer.

Reminders From Previous Weeks


Future dates for network meetings

Network dates:

Lead Members Group: Expert Workshop #10 Assurance vs Reassurance – utilising data and audit – October 6 10.00am – 12.30pm. More from Deborah Glassbrook (contact details below)

Adoption Leadership Board: More from Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

AD Education: Friday 29 September 2023. More from Chris Owen (contact details below)

Principal Social Workers: More from Mark Evans (contact details below)

Network dates:

AD Safeguarding: Friday 8 September 10:00am. More from Mark Evans (contact details below)

QA Network: Tuesday 19 September 2023 at 2 p.m via Teams. More from Amanda Meadows (contact details below)

Fostering Network: More from Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

Data Benchmarking: Thursday 21 September 2023. More from Luke Ede (contact details below)

SEND SE19: More from Sheelagh Sullivan (contact details below)

Early Help: Friday 15 September 2023 9.30-11am. More from Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

Kinship Care Network: More from Rebecca Eligon (contact details below)

Working Together to Safeguard Children – consultation on changes

On 21 June DfE launched a consultation on changes to the statutory guidance Working Together. The closing date is 6 September 2023.

Changes to Working Together

Draft of the proposed 2023 version

DfE says:

“Updating Working Together now is central to delivering on the first phase of our ambitious plans to transform Children’s Social Care, set out in Stable Homes, Built on Love. We want to see strengthened multi-agency working across the whole system of help, support and protection for children and their families, a system re-balanced towards help at an early point, and strong, effective and consistent child protection practice.”

Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners – consultation on changes

On 21 June DfE launched a consultation on changes to Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners. The closing date is 6 September 2023.

Information sharing consultation

Draft of the proposed advice

DfE says:

This consultation seeks views on a revision to non-statutory guidance:
Information sharing advice for practitioners providing safeguarding
services to children, young people, parents and carers
. (Published 2018)

Commissioning high-quality trusts:

On 6 July DfE published Guidance on the role of the DfE in making commissioning decisions about academy trusts

This guidance provides:

Information about the decisions made by Regions Group on behalf of the Secretary of State, about the creation, consolidation and growth of academy trusts.

It covers decisions:

  • for schools to join or form new academy trusts
  • to move underperforming schools to new trusts
  • to approve applications for trust transfers
  • to approve which trusts can open new free schools

Annex A sets out the trust quality descriptions, first published in draft form as part of the Academies regulatory and commissioning review.

Annex B sets out the evidence that Regions Group will use to inform its decisions.

Tools & Templates

We have produced a Regional Improvement Plan (July 2023) 

On 6 July DfE published consultations on changes to Working Together and Information sharing advice

On 6 July DfE published Commissioning High Quality Trusts

On 4 July Foundations (what works centre for children and families) published the results from the largest randomised control trial (RCT) of family group conferences (FGCs) in the world,

On 30 June SESLIP and LIIA published a Report on The Big Listen Survey 2022-23

On 28 June, NAO published Condition of school buildings.

On 22 June DfE published SEN data for academic year 2022/23

On 12 June Ofsted published a press release on changes to school inspections

On 11 June DHSC published an Evaluation of the Children of Alcohol Dependent Parents programme

On 26 May DfE cirulated the Application Guide for the Fostering Recruitment and Retention programme.

On 25 May the Childrens Commissioner published Looked after children who are not in school

On 25 May the House of Lords Public Servicers Committee published A response to the Children’s Social Care Implementation Strategy

On 25 May DfE published new guidance: Suspension and Permanent Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England, including pupil movement

On 18 May NFJO published Ethnicity of children in care and supervision proceedings in England

On 18 May DfE published statistics on children accommodated in secure children’s homes for March 2023

On 17 May The Staff College published Just Home – evertything starts with heart, hope and a home.

On 16 May DfE published new guidance: Area SEND inspections: support and challenge following inspection

On 15 May DfE published 9 updated ‘Safety Valve’ agreements

On 11 May The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published analysis of NHS England’s RTT dataset  for ‘other paediatrics’

On 26 April the House of Commons Education Select Committee published its report on The future of post-16 qualifications

On 25 April Become published Gone Too Far as part of its new campaign to keep children in care close to the people and places that matter to them

On 25 April DfE updated the statistics on suspensions and permanent exclusions across state-funded schools up to spring term 2022

Contact Details

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


07810 011892

Children’s Services Performance Manager, Convener Of SE Quality Assurance Network: Amanda Meadows (Hampshire)


03707 794752

SESLIP Consultant; Commissioners’ Network, SEND Courageous Conversations: Chris Baird (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07855 492010

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


07825 862330

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


SESLIP Consultant and LGA SEND Improvement Adviser: Deborah Glassbrook (South East Sector-Led Improvement Programme)


07882 158959

The Staff College Assistant Operations Manager: Ellie Bevis (The Staff College)


0161 729 1065

NHS (SE) CYP mental health: Gavin Lockhart (NHS England (South East))


07879 488307

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


07931 586784

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


07872 014083

Data and Information Manager: Luke Ede (East Sussex)


07925 148597

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


07803 147072

LGA Corporate Improvement Adviser: Philip (Phil) Simpkins (LGA)


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)