“A timely and exciting opportunity to work in partnership”

Cllr Tim Wilson, Walsall
Research Centre Manager

24 July 2018

We feel proud in Walsall to have been chosen by the What Works Centre to be a Wave One partner to develop a pioneering partnership in becoming an Evidence Informed Organisation. The timing of this partnership could not have been more ideal as we are in the starting blocks of launching our ‘Right for Children’ transformation programme. Our ‘Right for Children’ programme is driven by the following principles:

• Get the basics right for children
• Strong leadership informed by ‘what works’ setting our direction
• Mirror the lives and challenges of real families – whole system transformation
• Implement changes that work for Walsall children and families and underpinned by evidence
• Prioritise the stability of children in all aspects of their life – design out ‘handover’ and ‘pass on’
• Develop a culture of being proud of what we achieve by having a relentless focus on quality, impact and outcomes

These principles align with the aims and objectives set out by the What Works Centre and therefore Walsall Council sees this as a timely and exciting opportunity to work in partnership to both support and accelerate our transformation journey and enable us to become an evidence informed local authority.

Getting it right for children will rely on us having a confident and skilful workforce, in the right place, working with the right people to address the ‘root causes’ of children, young people and their family’s needs.

Our ambitious vision will only be achieved if we make strategic and operational decisions that are consistently informed by evidence.

Our transformation programme will rely on evidence from a number of sources:

  • national and international research
  • through our knowledge and experience in Walsall (our needs assessment)
  • through the relationship we have built with children, young people and families.

Using these sources of evidence strategically will ensure that throughout our transformation journey we will secure buy in from partners from the start, we make good decisions on resource allocation and the development of a menu of interventions which will make a difference to children and young people.

On an operational level we want all of our practitioners to:

  • have the time to reflect on information and key findings from research
  • draw on their own experience and that of their teams as well as partners
  • build relationships with children and young people so they can take into account their views

I’m sure most people reading this agree that this is common sense and what we all should be doing… however, common sense is not so common and achieving what we set out to do as part of our transformation journey is complex; it will require energy and courage and that’s why we are grateful for the partnership with the What Works Centre.