Devolving budgets to social workers in Wigan

Giving social workers in Wigan the freedom to use budgets in creative ways to help children safely remain at home and to reduce the number of children with Care Orders at home


Pilot / In progress

Estimated completion

March 2020

Focus areas

Professionals, Children & families



Delivered by

Wigan Council

Evaluated by

CASCADE, Cardiff University

Key Figures

Local authorities 1
Grant size £400k

Wigan Council is devolving budgets to frontline social workers and managers, giving individual teams the power to identify and test creative solutions aiming to keep children and young people safely at home with their families.

100 families will be identified by Wigan’s ‘Reunification’ team and the ‘Edging Away from Care’ panel. The families will be allocated to 10 budget-holding social workers, with a budget of £4,000 per family. Budgets will be made available and monitored for the lifetime of the project. These are predicted to be used for practical needs as well as helping the family find the right services and support (e.g. specialist therapy, psychological assessments, counselling, drug testing).

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 began in Spring 2019, and ran until March 2020.

The summary report and final report are now available.

The interim report (August 2019) was published in August 2019.