Hertfordshire receives innovation grant to revamp child protection services in four local authorities.

Published: 20 Mar 2017


 

Hertfordshire County Council is delighted to have been awarded a grant, jointly with four other authorities, of £11.6 million from the government’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme. 

This funding will broaden the range of professionals in its successful multi-disciplinary teams, as well as extend the evidence base of its revolutionary child protection services to local authorities namely; Luton Borough Council, Peterborough City Council, Bracknell Forest Council and West Berkshire Council. 

The funding will be used to implement the Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding model in the four local authorities, to test whether Hertfordshire’s improved outcomes for children, families and social workers can be replicated.

In the last two years, Hertfordshire has developed a more effective and efficient child protection service with a radical overhaul of its practice method. As a result, between January 2015 and November 2016, in stark contrast to national trends, Hertfordshire has achieved a 49 per cent reduction in the number of children with child protection plans.  In addition pre-proceedings and care proceedings processes have reduced by 76 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.

Throughout the Hertfordshire journey, these four unitary authorities have watched the Hertfordshire developments and have acted as critical friends.  They are keen to make it work in their respective authorities, which are at different stages in their improvement journeys and have differing demographic challenges.

Richard Roberts, Cabinet Member for Children's Services at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We are delighted that the DfE has chosen to scale up our model to four additional local authorities and it is an endorsement of the great work we have been doing in Hertfordshire.

"The Hertfordshire partnership of Hertfordshire County Council, the Clinical Commissioning Groups, Probation, Hertfordshire Constabulary, Mental Health and Substance Misuse Providers have worked together really well to develop a completely new model for child protection services in Hertfordshire and the independent evaluation has validated our excellent outcomes. 

 “Everyone who has had the opportunity to experience our new approach is impressed by what we have accomplished. The incredible outcomes we have achieved so far are a testament to our belief in the radical changes we adopted and our commitment to improving the lives of children and families in Hertfordshire.”

Previously, England’s Chief Social Worker for Children and families, Isabelle Trowler has lauded the county’s efforts saying:

“It is so important that we learn from what they have done. The impact this overarching care framework in child protection might have on the national system could be quite profound. I think Hertfordshire might just be our national treasure.”

For more information on the Family Safeguarding project or to seek further help and advice, please visit: www.hertsfamilysafeguarding.co.uk