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Devolving budgets to social workers in Hillingdon

Giving social workers in Hillingdon the freedom to use budgets in creative ways to help children safely remain at home

  • Devolved Budgets

Hillingdon Council is devolving budgets to frontline social workers and managers, giving individual teams the power to identify and test creative solutions aiming to improve outcomes for vulnerable young people on the edge of care.

The newly established ‘Vulnerable Adolescents Team’ will work with 100 adolescents who are particularly at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE), criminal exploitation, youth violence and missing episodes. Key to this intervention is that the young people will be given the choice of a social worker, will chair/co-chair meetings, and be involved in their own decision making in order to best support these children and prevent the need for escalation. There will be no stated cap to spending, however social workers will require approval for decisions to spend over £500.

The qualitative evaluation aims to help us better understand how the budgets are used and implemented, the potential mechanisms of impact, and contextual factors. This will involve collecting data from interviews, observations, focus groups and questionnaires conducted with social workers, as well as families who receive a budget. Exploratory analysis of administrative data including information about statutory care will also be carried out.

The evaluation of the programme will begin in Spring 2019, and run until March 2020, when a final report will be published.

The interim report (August 2019) is now available.