11.40 to 12.40 Thursday 30 October

Room:  Exchange 2/3

Relationship based social work practice - delivering change and driving improvement for children and families at lower cost

Chair: Jenny Coles - DCS Hertfordshire County Council

Main Participants:

Helen Lincoln, Executive Director Family Operations, Essex County Council and members of her team

This workshop seeks to explore the learning from Essex CC Children's social care improvement journey over the last three years.

Essex County Council (ECC) is one of England's largest LAs with a population of 1.4m and 298k children under 18.  In 2008 and 2010 Essex was judged inadequate and was subject to an improvement notice.

From 2011 Essex has adopted a new approach based upon Munro principles, including a focus on direct social work with families, increasing the number of qualified social workers, being clear about purpose and thresholds to social care, reducing caseloads, investing in workforce development and targeted early help, and building an enabling culture through challenge and support around a set of shared values.

The results of this approach has been a significant reduction in numbers of children in care and many more families helped to sustain change and improved parenting.  As a result of these changes, net of the increased investment in social workers, ECC has saved over £10m in two years and received a very positive ('Good') Ofsted inspection (Feb 14).

This innovation session will set out Essex journey with plenty of scope for discussion and debate.