August has been a busy month for the team here at What Works for Children’s Social Care. We continued our visits to local authorities around the country and held the first meeting with our Young Advisors. Over the last two weeks we’ve also published the first interim reports from our two big primary research projects – research placing social workers into schools in Lambeth, Stockport and Southampton, and giving social workers access to devolved budgets in Darlington, Wigan and Hillingdon. You can read the reports for the Social Workers in Schools pilots here, and for Devolved Budgets pilots here.
Even at this halfway point, we’re learning a lot about the implementation of these ideas, and how they can vary across local authorities – with interesting results. Final reports, including some indicative findings from impact evaluations for some projects, will be published in March next year.
We’ve also announced the local authorities and areas that we’ll be working with as part of our research on Family Group Conferences and variations of the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts. We’re pleased to be part of both building the evidence base, and in working with more than 40 local authorities to increase the provision of these services for families that could benefit from them. On a much smaller scale, we’ve also begun working with Bolton Council on a project that aims to better support the supervision of designated safeguarding leads in schools by an experienced social worker. In all three cases, independent evaluators have been appointed to make sure the research is as rigorous as possible.
On the more ‘boring but important’ end of things, we’ve also taken an important step towards our independence from government and our establishment as a stand alone entity, with our incorporation. This is the first step towards what we hope will be recognition by the Charities Commission in the next few months, so that in 2020 we can be a fully fledged charity.
I’m pleased that all the members of our founding board have agreed to continue to work with us as trustees of the new organisation. Sir Alan Wood, Sally Rowe, Jonathan Breckon and Isabelle Trowler have each brought great expertise and constructive challenge to our work so far. I’m also really pleased that we’re looking to recruit new trustees at the moment, bolstering our existing board members and – we hope – helping to bring greater diversity to our governance by including academics, practising social workers, experts by experience and more. These trustees will play a vital role in shaping the future of our organisation and the work we do, so if you’re interested, please consider applying – or get in touch if you have any questions.
And we’re not stopping yet! September looks to be equally busy, so watch this space!