NCAS conference: Greening announces £11m for innovation projects

Neil Puffett
Friday, November 4, 2016

A total of £11m will be handed to the three most successful projects to emerge from the Department for Education's Children's Social Care Innovation programme to allow them to expand, Education Secretary Justine Greening has said.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said social mobility "runs through everything we do". Image: Simon Davis, DFID
Education Secretary Justine Greening said social mobility "runs through everything we do". Image: Simon Davis, DFID

Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services conference in Manchester, Greening revealed that the Pause project - which supports women who have already had a child taken into care to break the cycle of repeat pregnancies - will be given £6.8m for the next four years as part of the new round of innovation Programme funding.

She said this will allow the programme to increase its reach from seven pilots to nine more areas across the country - and help an extra 3,000 women by 2020.

"Early indications show very positive results for all of the 150 women Pause is working with," she said.

Meanwhile, the Firstline social work development programme, a leadership programme for existing social work managers, will get £3.7m to train a total of 400 managers by 2019.

"We want to support and nurture our most talented social workers to become the practice leaders of the future," Greening said.

She will be writing to all directors and assistant directors of children's services to identify senior social workers who "have the commitment and the potential to succeed as practice leaders".

"This programme will be at the heart of our continued focus on improving the service children and families receive," she added.

Calderdale's Positive Choices project, which works with high-risk young people, will receive £444,000.

The funding announcement comes as the DfE begins publication of evaluation reports into projects that received funding under the first round of the £100m programme, which launched in 2014.

"It is crucial that we learn when things go wrong, but it's also vital that we learn lessons when things go right," she said.

"These reports will be an important step towards achieving a new national learning infrastructure, with a new What Works centre as its hub."

In addition to the £11m for innovation programme projects, Greening said the DfE will fund a further 11 teaching partnerships to the tune of £4.7m over the next two years, bringing the total number of partnerships to 15.

"The teaching partnerships are working well and when we look at the four pilot areas where we put them into practice, we have seen some good results," she said.

"Standards have got better, confidence has gone up and is now at a higher level."

Greening also gave more detail on the future of a proposed new social work regulator.

"We feel it has been an important step towards raising the status of the profession and building public confidence in social workers," she said.

"Some of you have had concerns about how independent this regulator was really going to be. While it was never the intention from ministers to take day-to-day decisions, we have listened and taken on board the concerns that people have raised.

"And that's why we have decided to redesign the regulator and really make sure that it is at arms length of government, and also has a clear set of responsibilities for which it is going to be accountable."

An amendment laid to the Children and Social Work Bill reveals that the new regulator will be called Social Work England.

Greening also confirmed that a consultation on firm proposals for the assessment and accreditation system for children's social workers will be launched shortly.

"I firmly believe there is a potentially transformational new approach if we can do this, and the assessment that has been designed is a powerful tool to transform children and family social work creating a clearly defined specialism, but also a career structure for the first time," she added.

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