Agenda item

Roadmap to Excellence

To receive an update from the council on its roadmap to excellence for children’s social care.


The Interim Director for Families and Children’s Services outlined the key areas of focus to make Wiltshire an outstanding local authority for the delivery for Families and Children’s Services, as follows:


1. Deliver consistently good services.

2. Enhance and embed the voice of children, young people and families to inform practice development and service delivery.

3. Achieve a fully staffed permanent workforce through an effective workforce strategy.

4. Partnership development of Family Help (e.g., early help).

5. Improving sufficiency and choice of suitable placements.

6. Good access to mental health support and services for all children and young people.



During the discussions, points included:


·       The committee thanked the interim director for the update and welcomed the aspirations set out in the report.

·       In response to queries about how the impact of early help interventions were being monitored, the interim director explained that they engaged with different agencies and their work was being reviewed by Oxford Brookes University to ensure that there was a rigorous analysis of ‘front door’ services. Oxford Brookes had provided positive verbal feedback and their report was expected to be published around the end of January.

·       The committee noted that they would welcome further detail about the timelines, as outlined in the service delivery plan, to give them an overview of the progress being made.

·       When asked about whether the change to an outreach-based model for children’s centre services had led to an improvement in the quality of intelligence being received, the directors stated that they could provide statistical information if required. Overall, they did feel that the outreach model had been more effective at delivering services than model based on a central hub. 

·       It was noted by members that they would welcome a briefing on the effectiveness of the change to outreach, rather than children’s centre, model.

·       The Corporate Director People highlighted that information from the Families and Children’s Transformation Programme (FACT) had been used to inform a Family Help pilot project. Family advisory boards were also working with parents who had experienced care.

·       It was confirmed that Aspire House was not a children’s home but was going to be used as part of a tender for a contract to house 12 children in Wiltshire.

·       The Interim Director for Families and Children’s Services explained that external scrutiny focussed on whether a child was placed within 20 miles of their home address, but the council did also monitor the number of children placed out of county. Chairman of the Corporate Parenting Panel, Cllr Peter Hutton, emphasised that ensuring that placements were safe and stable were the most important considerations.   

·       The Head of Commissioning for Families and Children’s Services confirmed that approximately a quarter of children requiring children’s home places were placed in Wiltshire. The committee noted they would welcome further information about the providers of these places and highlighted the importance of their role as corporate parents.

·       The committee praised the work of staff and noted that they had noticed an uplift in morale in recent years.

·       The Interim Director for Families and Children’s Services noted that there was a five percent vacancy rate overall for social workers and that recruitment campaigns were set out in their workforce strategy. She had held a meeting with staff last week and praised them about the great job that they were doing. Deeper analysis of exit interviews for staff leaving the service was also underway.

·       The interim director stated that she was happy to amend the wording of sections 4.5 and 4.6 of their plan to aim for ‘no’, rather than ‘fewer’, young people being in unregulated, unregistered or temporary accommodation.

·       It was noted that a rapid scrutiny exercise was due to take place on 2 and 9 March and that they would report back to a future meeting of Children’s Select Committee.





1.    To receive either a report or a briefing on the effectiveness of the change to outreach, rather than children’s centres, model. Final details of the arrangements would be agreed between the chairman, vice-chairman, and senior officers.

2.    To discuss at the meeting with the executive on 25 January 2023 arrangements for a briefing to the committee on the whole structure of Children in Care Service, such as the use of foster parents and external providers.

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