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Independent care review moves to penultimate phase ahead of report in the Spring

The independent review of children’s social care is approaching the penultimate stage of the project, the chair of the review has announced.

Josh MacAlister said the review was heading towards the ‘Development’ phase, where ideas will start to be formulated ahead of the review’s final recommendations next Spring. 

“In this phase we’ll be returning to the young people, families, professionals and groups that we have developed a dialogue and relationship with this year. While at the start of this review our questions were very open, by this stage our questions are becoming more granular as we try to identify solutions,” said Mr MacAlister.

“What I’m finding is that this exercise is a great leveller. It doesn’t matter if you are a professor who has spent years considering this in the abstract or a family who are experiencing children’s social care right now – pointing out problems is the easy bit, coming up with solutions that will work is hard,” he added.

Mr MacAlister said the review team has been keen to get input at every stage of the process. Initially, in January 2021, he asked people to share their advice and in March a Call for Evidence was made to academics, research and policy makers. Conversations were also carried out with hundreds of people who have lived experience of children’s social care.

The Case for Change which set out what the review team considered to be the problems in children’s social care was published in June and encouraged feedback.

Over 2,000 people have spoken to the review and around 200 people made a longer commitment through the Bridge the Gap deliberative policy making events. Over 300 children and young people shared their views through workshops organised by ‘A National Voice’ ambassadors from Coram Voice. There have also been deep dives in 10 local areas and this information has enabled the team to start to move their thinking towards solutions.

As the review moves towards the penultimate stage, Mr MacAlister said: “Today we are launching our Call for Ideas. This is your opportunity to share your ideas for change. From big transformative ideas that might take years and require systemic change to smaller solutions that could deliver more immediate results for children.”

“Charities and organisations with a professional interest in children’s social care who may have spent more time pondering solutions, now is your time to share your expertise. But this Call for Ideas is open to all and we hope anyone frustrated with the current system – from parents or care experienced young people to professionals on the frontline – will take the time to share ideas. This process will be open for 6 weeks, which will take us to the end of the year,” he added.

Between January 2022 and the Spring, the review team will move into the final ‘Delivery’ phase where ideas will be bought together into a coherent set of recommendations and the final report.

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