CIN: Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council



432 Children in Need cases



79% of cases closed in first CIN Programme



100% of assessments completed to agreed timescales

Innovate Services, children in need, CIN, Blackburn with Darwen Council, CIN plans, statutory intervention, case study

The challenge

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council (BwD) were experiencing unprecedented demand on their Children’s Services resources, with a 25% increase over 12 months. Looking for short-term external support to relieve pressure on their in-house team, they identified the Innovate CYPS 14-week Child in Need (CIN) programme as a practical, cost-effective solution. We were contracted to provide a fully managed service for an initial three-month period, focusing on 144 open CIN cases. The contract was extended for a further three-month and eight-week phases. Based on intensive intervention with children and families, our CIN programme aims to reduce the need for ongoing statutory intervention being necessary and provides better outcomes for children and young people.

Our approach

Our agile business model enabled us to respond quickly and make an immediate impact, stabilising the caseload management situation. The first step was to appoint an Innovate CYPS Project Manager who provided management oversight and reviewed all cases to ensure they were within the scope of the programme. One week later, we deployed our team of eight highly qualified social workers. They were supported by an experienced project support team enabling the practitioners to focus on intervention and achieving good quality outcomes.

Our social workers followed a robust CIN review framework of three to four CIN reviews of each case. Decisions were made for de-escalation or escalation at the appropriate time, depending on risk and need, working with professionals to make step down more sustainable. The overall aim was to reduce, as far as possible, the number of children remaining on CIN plans.

We set clear project benchmarks and put in place robust reporting procedures. Our Project Manager attended weekly face-to-face meetings at the Council’s offices and was also available by telephone to address urgent concerns. Our weekly performance report provided the Council with clear, detailed analysis of progress to date.

Innovate Services, children in need, CIN, Blackburn with Darwen Council, CIN plans, statutory intervention, case study

The results

Over the first three-month phase of the project, the Innovate CYPS team successfully de-escalated 114 of the 144 allocated cases. A similar proportion of cases were closed in the second three-month phase and the further eight-week extension. This followed successful direct intervention with children and families, reducing reliance on long-term CIN plans and the need for statutory intervention.

During the 8-month period, our social work teams undertook the Innovate CYPS’ bespoke CIN programme with 201 families and 388 children, resulting in an average CIN plan duration of 11 weeks. 100% of assessments were completed within statutory timescales.

Of the cases assessed, 11.1% were referred directly to the BwD Children in Need service and 8.2% were progressed to Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC). In 0.5% of cases, children became Looked-After and in 29.6% of cases the ‘Step Down’ process was implemented. 50.5% of cases were closed. 80.1% of cases were safely de-escalated as a result of this approach.

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What our clients say

“This has proved to be an excellent project. It assisted BwD at a time of need with a first-class project and a successful, positive, trusting relationship developed. I highly recommend Innovate CYPS. It was the first time BwD had to use an agency and my searching for one with the right approach and calibre of leaders, managers and staff certainly paid off.”

Linda Clegg, Director of Children’s Services,
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

Children in Need

Do you need support in progressing your current child in need cases?

Innovate CYPS’ 14-week Children in Need (CIN) programme significantly reduces the long-term reliance on CIN plans, eliminates drift and identifies those children at risk, earlier.

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Duty & Assessment

Are you looking for more capacity within your duty and assessment team to clear a backlog of cases?

Or do you reprieve to look at a service restructure? We can help by managing cases coming in for referral and assessment.

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Edge of Care

Do you need support to reduce your Edge of Care costs and breaking the cycle of care?

Our award-winning solution brings statutory social work and multidisciplinary support together to deliver sustainable positive outcomes and huge cost-savings.

Break the cycle with Innovate
High-Cost Placements

Do you need support to secure better outcomes for children with complex needs?

We can support you in providing a sustainable alternative by managing cases to identify suitable stable placements or by taking children and young people through our residential Innovate Therapeutic Care programme.

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Discharge of Care

Do you have a high number of children at home on care orders that you need support in reducing?

Innovate can support you by reducing your children-looked-after (CLA) numbers and create direct cost-savings.

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Do you need additional support due to further requirements around capacity to manage your most complex cases?

We provide extra capacity to handle incoming cases and/or to work those that may have drifted, and introduce proven sustainable longer-term solutions to reduce the risk of drift and delay.

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Children with Disabilities

Do you need support to manage your current cohort of children with disabilities?

Innovate CYPS’ 14-week Children with Disabilities programme reduces costs whilst identifying new care pathways for children, young people and their families.

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Service Auditing

How confident are you that you know the quality of your service?

In complex children’s social work environments, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of under-performance. Whether you’re preparing for Ofsted or are on an improvement journey, knowing what ‘Good’ looks like is important.

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  • Children in Need
  • Duty & Assessment
  • Edge of Care
  • High-Cost Placements
  • Discharge of Care
  • Safeguarding
  • Children with Disabilities
  • Service Auditing

Want to know more?

Contact us to find our more about our Children in Need Service.

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