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Government to spend £200m on innovation in children’s social care

Innovation Programme is backed by £200m over next four years to deliver government’s vision for children’s services

The government has pledged to spend £200m to enhance innovation in children’s services over the next four years.

The Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, launched by the Children’s Minister Edward Timpson in October 2013, is designed to innovate and redesign service delivery to achieve high quality services, improved outcomes for children and better value for money.

In January, the Department for Education published ‘Children’s Social Care Reform: A Vision for Change’ setting out its planned reforms for children’s services and creating a culture of innovation is at the heart of that vision for children’s social care, the DfE has said.

The DfE has said that it aims to:

  • Give permission to innovators, and support them to redesign practice systems and structures to improve outcomes for children and families.
  • Back the best, most innovative local areas to show us what they are capable of achieving when they are given the freedom to design practice around an uncompromising focus on what children and families need.
  • Support new collective arrangements between local authorities for commissioning or delivering excellent services, including through city and devolution deals.
  • Support the emergence of new not-for-profit children’s social care organisations as part of a more dynamic and diverse range of provision, supporting those local authorities who wish to establish organisations, mutuals and trusts covering all, or part, of their children’s social care functions.
  • Build the capacity for outcomes based commissioning to drive better results from existing services and move to a system that rewards success.

The Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme is the vehicle for achieving that vision, the Department said. Two priority policy areas for the fund are rethinking children’s social care and rethinking transitions to adulthood for young people.

“Over the next four years we would like to see every local authority in England involved in our innovation and improvement programmes in some way,” a statement from the department said.

“We are looking for proposals that take bold new approaches to transforming outcomes for children and young people. This means that any work supported by the programme should have the potential to help transform the system, not just improve it incrementally, if it were adopted at scale,” it added.

The DfE intends to start awarding money to projects this summer and will be accepting bids between now and July.

In its first two years the Innovation Programme supported 53 projects with £110m, operating across 59% of all top-tier local authorities and involving over 120 public, private and voluntary sector organisations.

 

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