Wiltshire leads successful government funding bid to help improve services for families and children in the region
Wiltshire Council has led a successful south west bid to secure £1.5m of government funding so local authorities in the region can work closer together to innovate and improve services for families and children.
The council is the designated lead authority for the south west Regional Improvement and Innovation Alliance (RIIA) a body set up to focus on children's services, including safeguarding, placement sufficiency, workforce development and SEND.
The Department for Education (DfE) money will now be used to deliver a range of schemes across the south west with a number of local authorities taking the lead to deliver projects and share learning and good practice.
Wiltshire Council is the designated lead local authority for the RIIA. Today cabinet gave approval to receive and distribute the funding in line with the council's constitution and the DfE Children's Social Care Covid-19 Regional Recovery and Building Back Better Fund.
The report to cabinet set out a range of regional projects including:
- A blueprint for a social work practice centre of excellence in the south west, engaging with universities in the region and exploring the opportunities to create a regional or sub-regional centre of excellence.
- Developments linked to Born into Care - a project to reduce the number of infants entering care proceedings and to identify earlier partnership support. Learning from a range of projects will be shared including actions to assess parents' needs and how best agencies can engage with additional family support intervention or therapeutic support. This will help to improve learning and practice improvement across the whole of the south west.
- Creating a new co-ordinator post to boost the work in the region to help young people avoid harm outside of the home, known as contextual safeguarding.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said:
We are stronger together. This is a good example of the children's services departments across the south west pulling together to explore new ways of working and share good practice. We want to ensure we provide the best services for our children and families and this successful bid and funding means we have opportunities to move forward swiftly to make this happen in practice.
The funding is from the DfE Children's Social Care Covid-19 Regional Recovery and Building Back Better Fund. The bid submission included a regional recovery plan which identified the regional priorities which each local authority in the region signed up to as part of the RIIA Memorandum of Understanding.