Update no 571 25th August 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)


SESLIP Care Leavers Conference

Please save the date Thursday 2 November for an in-person Care Leavers Conference in Winchester.

Can you help?

Please click here to tell us what topics you are most interested in and whether you would be willing to share your own learning/ practice.

We’ll need to hear from you by 15 September as we’ll be finalising the agenda shortly afterwards.

For more information, please contact sectorled@hants.gov.uk

Connected tech: smart or sinister?

Domestic abuse and connected technology

The report covers the use of connected technology looking at the risks and harms, including data and privacy concerns and technology-facilitated abuse. The report finds that tech abuse is becoming increasingly common. It considers the role of connected devices in broadening and exacerbating patterns of domestic abuse. In relation to children, it also explores connected toys and data collection; smart speakers and online safety; and connected technology in schools.

Take Your Place 2023

Applications for the 2023 Take Your Place cohort are now open.

Closing date is now 1 September 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@markevansconsulting.co.uk. The deadline for applications is now Friday 1 September 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 – 6 October 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)

Brighton & Hove named as wave 1 Family Network Pilot authority

On 26 July DfE published Families first for children (FFC) pathfinder programme and family networks pilot (FNP).

New acronyms:

  • FFC – Families first for children
  • FNP – Family network pilot
  • FNSP – Family network support package

Families first for children

The new end-to-end system will include four key elements:

  • locally based, multi-disciplinary family help services, providing intensive, non-stigmatising and effective support that is tailored to the needs of children and families
  • a child protection response carried out by social workers with greater expertise and experience, and access to dedicated and skilled multi-agency input, working with family help to protect children who are suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm
  • greater use of family networks, with increased use of family group decision-making, facilitated by FNSPs to remove any financial or practical barriers family networks may face
  • updated and strengthened local multi-agency leadership through changes to safeguarding partner arrangements

Family network pilot

The FNP is testing the impact of providing flexible funding for extended family networks through FNSPs to help keep families together and children out of care where appropriate. It will prioritise family-led solutions by increasing the use of family group decision-making and testing the introduction of FNSPs. 

FNSPs will look at how to reduce the barriers to family networks playing a more active role in providing loving, safe and stable homes for children. This will be done by providing support for children to stay safely at home, through financial and other practical means.

FFC pathfinder, wave 1 local authorities:

  • Dorset
  • Lincolnshire
  • Wolverhampton

A second wave of local areas is expected to launch in spring 2024. The details of the criteria for areas wishing to apply will be made available in the autumn.

FNP, wave 1 local authorities:

  • Brighton and Hove
  • Sunderland
  • Gateshead
  • Telford and Wrekin

FNP, wave 2 local authorities:

  • Staffordshire
  • Hartlepool
  • Hammersmith and Fulham

Wave 2 local authorities are expected to begin in spring 2024.

Children’s Commissioner asks: should ‘care experience’ be given legal protection

On 26 July the Children’s Commissioner published an invitation to care experienced people to share their views about whether care experience should be a ‘protected characteristic’ – like age, disability or religion currently are.

Care experienced people can respond to the survey here.

I am today launching an opportunity for care experienced people to tell me what they think about this proposal – whether they believe it would make a difference to their lives, or not, and why. I will read all these ideas and want this to be the start of a rich conversation.

To all care experienced people and children in care – please share your views. I want to hear directly from you because it is you who have the true expertise that we should be drawing on.


Twenty-three papers were included, the majority from England. CSW had higher rates of school non-attendance (absences, exclusions and non-enrolment) compared to children without social workers. In particular those with short-term social care interventions fared worse than those who had been in care or in need for longer. Risk factors for non-attendance among CSW included type of social work intervention, length of care placements, placement type, age when entering care, special educational needs and disabilities, behavioural, emotional or social difficulties, school instability, and gender. Evidence as to the effectiveness of interventions was weak owing to methodological problems.

Current innovative practice seems to be focused on local authority initiatives driven by their Virtual Schools. There is a particular lack or research around off-rolling and risk factors for school non-attendance.


Whilst welcoming the recent injection of funding to expand subsidised places, more support is required and the report recommends zero-rating settings for VAT and business rates.

It also expresses concerns about any proposals to reduce quality by increasing staff to child ratios.

Tools & Templates

We have produced a Regional Improvement Plan (July 2023)

On 7 August the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee published Connected tech:smart or sinister?

On 3 August Foundations (What works centre for children and families) published an Evaluation of Family Drug and Alcohol Courts

On 26 July DfE published Families first for children (FFC) pathfinder programme and family networks pilot (FNP).

On 26 July the Children’s Commissioner published an invitation to care experienced people to share their views about whether care experience should be a ‘protected characteristic’ – like age, disability or religion currently are.

On 24 July Foundations (What works centre for children and families) published School non-attendance by children with a social worker in the UK: A rapid review of extent, risk factors and interventions

On 20 July DfE published Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England for 2021-22

On 17 July LGA published a series of six case studies exploring various elements of family hubs delivery across some councils in England.

On 13 July The Sutton Trust published a new report, “World Class: What England can learn from global experience to make early years policy work for disadvantaged children”

On 11 July DfE published Key stage 2 attainment: National headlines for 2022/23

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 The Education Policy Institute published a blog analysing the GCSE attainment gap for looked after children in England

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 29 June DfE published Travel to school for children of compulsory school age

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

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)