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Putting Children First

Helen Stanley, Social Work Academy Manager, Worcestershire County Council

Worcestershire Children First is the company responsible for delivering children’s services across the county of Worcestershire. These services include children’s social care, education, early help and fostering.

The company is 100% owned by Worcestershire County Council and delivers its children’s services on behalf of the local authority working with partners across the county to ensure children, young people and families receive the best possible service.

How we got here

In September 2017, following a report from the Worcestershire Children's Commissioner, the Department for Education directed that Worcestershire County Council should move the operational delivery of Social Care Services for Children to an Alternative Delivery Model.

This meant that the Council would no longer have the responsibility of operationally delivering the services it currently provides, and would voluntarily move to an alternative way of delivering these services.

What happened next

Worcestershire County Council had already completed a review earlier in 2017 with the aim of introducing a new way of delivering Children's Social Care services; to help accelerate and sustain improvements in Children's Social Care.

The alternative way of delivering these services would allow more focus on improving services and keeping children and young people safe from harm.

Alongside the commitment and determination to improve the lives of children and young people in Worcestershire, this approach supported opportunities to make services better, more secure and effective in the future.

Our delivery model

Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet met on 29 March 2018 and approved recommendations for the development of a Wholly Owned Council Company as the alternative delivery model to deliver Children's Social Care.

The new company, called Worcestershire Children First, is a 'not for profit' company and 100% owned by Worcestershire County Council. It will be operationally independent and have a single focus on children and young people; however strategic objectives and significant decisions will remain with the Council.

On 14 March 2019, Cabinet approved the size and scope of the company meaning that Worcestershire Children First would also be responsible for delivering education and early help services.

Improvement progress

The latest inspection by Ofsted into children’s social care services in Worcestershire has recognised that progress has been made in many areas of the service.

In respect of Children's Social Care, the ambition is that at the point of transferring services to the new Company, the service will be performing well, and the Company will have a positive platform to sustain the improvement and further improve outcomes for children and young people.

Worcestershire Children First are committed and determined to improve the lives of children and young people:

Our vision is for Worcestershire to be a wonderful place for all children & young people to grow up and our mission is to support children and young people to be happy, healthy and safe.

Our values are that children at our heart - we will keep children and young people at the heart of everything we do; we value family life - we will support and empower parents to care for their own children well; we want quality education for all - we will value education as the best start in life for all children; and we provide protection from harm - we will act in a professional and timely way to protect children from harm.

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© 2019 by The West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership