NCAS Conference: Timpson unveils children's services innovation programme

Derren Hayes
Monday, October 21, 2013

The government has launched a sector-wide initiative to harvest and test "adventurous" ideas that professionals have to improve services for vulnerable children.

Children's minister Edward Timpson wants to test innovative ideas children's professionals have for improving services.
Children's minister Edward Timpson wants to test innovative ideas children's professionals have for improving services.

Launching the children’s services innovation programme at the National Children and Adults Services Conference in Harrogate, children’s minister Edward Timpson threw down the gauntlet to all sectors and organisations involved in providing children's services to come up with ideas that have “limitless ambition”.

Timpson said innovative ideas and work were sometimes unable to flourish because of regulatory and organisational barriers.

“I need you to confront head-on the structures that are getting in the way of innovation and better outcomes,” he told children’s services leaders at the conference.

“It is a call to frontline staff and experts in the field to develop better ways of constructing and managing services.”

"I want to support and liberate you to improve faster, get better value for money, do the job you came into the profession to do," he said. "But to do this, I need you to demonstrate to me what you have to offer.”

Timpson added that those ideas “with the most potential” will be tested next year.

“I want to know what helps and hinders enterprise. Ask yourself what is stopping me from innovating and doing things better?” he said.

“If you need help to get your idea off the ground and you’re facing regulatory or other barriers then I want to hear from you. Come forward with your most adventurous ideas.

“If there are barriers in the way then let me know about them and I will knock them down.”

The initiative will be led by Clive Cowdery, chairman and former chief executive of think-tank the Resolution Foundation.

Andrew Webb, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, welcomed Timpson’s announcement.

“There are many areas where we can see opportunities for innovation and we are keen to ensure appropriate evaluation is built in.”

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