Children’s services authorities will be able to “borrow” trouble-shooting experts from other councils for up to six months thanks to the newly-founded Centre for Excellence and Outcomes.
As part of its campaign to disseminate best practice across the country, the sector-led organisation will encourage local authorities to set up banks of specialists in areas of expertise.
Councils taking part in the scheme will be required to loan out their staff members to other children’s services authorities to tackle particular problems.
Quid pro quo
Speaking at C4EO’s official launch at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services annual conference in Manchester, director Christine Davies said: “This will be done on a quid pro quo basis. In return you will be able to use the services of sector specialists from other authorities.”
The temporary vacancies created by the loaning-out of staff will then be filled internally.
ADCS president Maggie Atkinson said this would provide ideal opportunities for senior practitioners to gain experience in middle-management.
Addressing the audience of delegates, Atkinson and Davies urged members to make C4EO a success by “working with us”.
“This will only work if we make sure staff are in a position to go out and work in another authority,” Atkinson said.
Davies added: “The centre will be working with you and for you.”
C4EO is being funded with a £12m grant from the Department for Children, Schools and Families over the next three years. Using the National Children’s Bureau’s London headquarters as its administrative base, it will identify and disseminate evidence of the types of practice achieving the best outcomes for young people. The first publications will be available in October.
Peter Lauener, director of the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ supporting delivery group, appeared at the event.
He welcomed the sector-led movement, which would recognise the contribution local government could make, “not just regarding best practice but in developing policy thinking for central government”.