Small Packages of Sector Led Improvement

An overview of SESLIP small packages of support from 2023/24.

Hampshire County Council (HCC) is leading and co-ordinating the Small Packages of Sector Led Improvement Support on behalf of the South East region. They complete up to four packages of support each year for other local authorities, for a maximum of 39 days each. Using the Hampshire Sector Led Improvement model, Hampshire works collaboratively to scope the packages and draws on expertise from around the region to collaboratively deliver the work.

The central team has a dedicated and experienced Programme Manager which means refined project management documentation is available for enhanced oversight and coordination. Hampshire is experienced in robust quality assurance and governance, contributing to Improvement Boards regularly. Hampshire’s approach and model for improvement centres around using a blended team of regional subject matter experts co-ordinated by the Hampshire Sector Led Improvement team. This has ensured the highest quality of support to the recipient local authority as well as subject matter experts taking learning back to their local authority.

Illustrative picture showing child looking to the future with home made rocket.

Regional Projects 2023/24

West Berkshire Council

A small package of support was completed with West Berkshire Council (WBC) to help them to understand their unusual high levels of demand and referral rates in detail. The expected outcomes were to understand and manage the pipeline of cases coming in to West Berks (specifically, referral rate, s47 and CIN and CP) and to review application of thresholds along the pathway.

The SLI team reviewed the referral process which included an onsite visit to WBC CAAS team. A total of 60 cases were dip sampled, 20 from the front door, 10 from Early Help, and 30 cases that had had assessments completed in the last three months. Following the dip sampling, a process mapping session took place to review end to end processes with the Early Help team. To maximise the impact of the dip sampling, recommendations were given to WBC’s management to support them in improving their incoming referrals and pipeline of cases.

Milton Keynes City Council

HCC worked with Milton Keynes City Council (MKCC) to provide support in improving their data performance and quality assurance (QA), data literacy and confidence for managers and recording of social work practice (voice of the child).

A review of the MKCC QA documentation and data performance were completed by subject matter experts early in 2023. The data literacy workshops were developed collaboratively with MKCC and the recording of social work workshops were delivered collaboratively with SMEs from West Sussex County Council. Following the data literacy workshop, feedback from attendees indicated that practitioners found sharing information and experience helpful as it reduced their anxieties and they would welcome more training to better understand the data and improve their team’s performance.

There was good engagement with the workshops and subsequent feedback showed the teams have increased motivation to reflect and learn which can now be embedded with continuous training and support.

Thanks again to Sam and her team who have really supported SW and TMs here in Milton Keynes this year (2023).

Milton Keynes Head of Children’s Quality Assurance and Performance

West Sussex County Council

The purpose of the small package support was to identify what good practice, in relation to SEND, is taking place in other regional LAs and how this support can be adapted and used by WSCC as well as learning from the improvement journeys towards 20-week EHCP compliance from regional LAs.

Two workshops took place to support WSCC. The first workshop was with Hampshire’s County Education Manager for Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Senior Managers from the WSCC SEND team. The purpose of the workshop was to share and discuss QA process, pathway, framework and relevant policy documents. Both WSCC and Hampshire shared their current progress in this area.

The second workshop had a focus on the improvement journeys of Hampshire and East Sussex towards achieving 20-week EHCP compliance. This workshop was attended by SEND senior managers from West Sussex, East Sussex and Hampshire. West Sussex shared their current progress in achieving 20-week compliance, also discussing where they are struggling. Hampshire and East Sussex shared their improvement journeys, discussing what worked well and where they struggled. This information can help West Sussex moving forward on their journey to reach 20-week EHCP compliance.

Feedback from the workshops was positive, West Sussex was able to gather learning from their neighbouring LAs and the SMEs and were also able to take back learning from their neighbours to their teams. West Sussex are now on their own journey to improve their 20-week EHCP compliance.

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s (RBWM) Achieving for Children (AfC) team had a small package of support to review their school transport service. The focus of the peer review was to help them to identify areas where school transport can be improved and where efficiencies and savings can be made while still delivering a successful service. RBWM felt that as Hampshire is ahead of them in their school transport improvement journey, they could provide valuable insight and guidance to help RBWM improve their service.

A round table discussion was held first with AfC and the Hampshire Head of School Transport to discuss the current situation in RBWM and what they wanted to achieve through the peer review. Following this discussion, the peer review was carried out by the Hampshire Head of School transport through a review of the current AfC School Transport documentation.

Focus areas of the review were identified as:

  • Entitlement policy for: Post-16 SEND, permanently excluded students and fare paying students
  • Personal transport budgets.

Following the review, the recommendations and considerations were presented to the AfC transport team to help them improve their service. The review report was shared with RBWM and their senior team in January 2024. In March 2024, RBWM confirmed that recommendations from the report were already being put into practice.

Buckinghamshire Council

Through a small package Buckinghamshire Council (BC) were supported to address their concerns about the quality of their Early Help (EH) support, which in BC is called the Family Support Service (FSS). To support BC to address their concerns, assurance auditing of 60 cases (20 cases from the three geographical teams) took place in December 2023. The purpose of the audits was to identify strengths and areas that require further focus, which will help to guide the continuous improvement of BC’s Early Help support.

The audits completed by the Sector Led Improvement (SLI) team examined the impact of QA processes implemented by BC and assessed the integration of outcomes from the workshops that took place with BC managers. Key areas of focus in the audit were:

  • Management oversight and direction
  • Supervision
  • Impact of partnership working
  • Meaningful and focused direct work

Recommendations were made after auditing to assist Buckinghamshire Council in the continued development of practice in the Family Support Service. BC are working on the recommendations, and they are currently considering creating an action plan following the recommendations in the report.

South East Regional Adoption Agency

The South East Regional Adoption Agency (SE RAA) approached SESLIP for a small package of support to conduct a mini peer review of their service to support their analysis of the efficiency of their current operating model; and to inform future development. The key objectives of the peer review were:

  • Understand SE RAA’s marketing strategy and performance outcomes. 
  • Understand the experience of prospective applicants who enquire and timeline of their adoption journey.
  • Understand the experience of prospective adopters who are assessed by SE RAA and the experience of all families across the region.
  • Understand how families are found for children with plans for adoption around SE RAA’s partnership.
  • Understand how adoption support services are delivered across SE RAA.
  • Understand practice concerning contact and keeping in touch arrangements and how adopted adults access their records.

The peer review was carried about by HCC Adopt South Team, led by Rachel Reynolds, the head of Adopt South. Activities undertaken to complete the review included meeting with and reviewing experiences for staff, applicants and adoptive families, analysis of Adoption and Special Guadian Leadership Board data, review of documentation and auditing of practice. The peer review identified many strengths and areas of practice to be celebrated by all those at SE RAA. There are operational challenges which are highlighted within the performance data. The final report, summarising the peer view was presented to the SE RAA board.

Following the peer review, SE RAA requested Adopt South to complete a short review of their governance structure and documentation.

The work of the HCC sector led programme has been hugely beneficial in peer reviewing our governance arrangements. Having experts in the field providing an independent and insightful analysis and suggest recommendations for improvement has been welcomed by all partner agencies and we will be implementing some significant changes as a result of this work which will improve our efficiency and effectiveness.

East Sussex Assistant Director, Early Help and Social Care

Sector Led Improvement Team Impact Model

Contact Details

Hampshire County Council Sector Led Improvement Team