Duty & Assessment:
Northamptonshire

“As a senior manager, I felt very well supported. There were plenty of times
where the project needed to adapt, especially since we were dealing with such
a huge volume of cases.” Greta Ullfors, Strategic DAAT Manager,
Children First Northamptonshire (Northamptonshire County Council)

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1702

1702 assessments progressed in total

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964

964 cases closed to Social Care

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18 day average

18 day average for completion of single assessments

The Challenge

When Innovate CYPS was approached by Northamptonshire County Council, it was at a time of crisis. The council’s own duty and assessment teams were struggling with a huge volume of referrals of between 120 to 140 per week, often more. Social workers were already holding between 35-40 cases.

They needed a way to cope with the demand to ensure that children received the right intervention at the right time.

As project sponsor and Strategic DAAT Manager at Children First Northamptonshire, Greta Ullfors recalls:

“Coming in at a time of crisis is never easy but Innovate CYPS’ understood our situation and the challenge of managing the feelings and expectations of existing staff who were tired and at capacity.”

The Solution:

With a vast amount of experience managing similar duty and assessment programmes, we recommended a duty cycle formation of three teams. Our teams worked within Northamptonshire’s duty rota alongside their existing teams. This not only provided much-needed capacity, it enabled Northamptonshire to trial different duty cycle models.

Each team included one social work team manager and five social workers experienced in duty and assessment (holding 25 children at any time).

Each team worked four duty cycles of 21 weeks. At the point of allocation, management oversight was recorded on each child’s record and assessments where banded to ensure there was no drift and delay.

Working closely with MASH

For all s17 assessments, children were visited within 5 working days as per Northamptonshire’s practice standards. Our Social Workers acted quickly and undertook high-quality evidenced based single assessments, with an average case duration of 18 days.

Each duty team social worker ensured that the child’s voice was at the heart of all decision making. They also worked with partner services and undertook interventions to support positive change within the family.

Working closely with the MASH was key. Our team managers worked to embed consistent application of threshold, which ensured children receiving the right level of service in a timely manner.

The results

In total, we assessed referrals involving 1702 children and young people, 57% of which were closed to social care and 15% stepped down. Crucially, those children whose cases needed to be escalated to CIN, CP and CLA, received the right intervention, at the right time.

We supported managers, and shared knowledge with partner agencies to help the Council understand what ‘Good’ looks like as they continue with their improvement plans.

Commenting on the quality of our work, Greta said:

“Innovate CYPS worked hard to progress cases within timescale, with assessments and partnership work of a consistently high standard. If it hadn’t been for their support in helping us to manage the throughput of cases, we simply wouldn’t have coped.”

Key statistics

1702 assessments progressed in total
964 closed to Social Care
254 stepped down to early help
355 transferred as complex Child in Need
118 escalated to Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC)
18 day average for completion of Single Assessments

Children in Need

Children in Need

Reduce your reliance on long-term CIN plans. Our highly experienced CIN social work team will take on statutory case management and follow a locally-tailored, sustainable and intensive home-based intervention programme. We’ll leave you with reduced CIN numbers and a legacy model to prevent drift and avoid future delay.

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Duty & Assessment

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. So you can be confident your local authority is meeting its statutory responsibilities, whilst we give your staff the chance to bring their cases up-to-date and leave your service with manageable caseloads.

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Edge of Care

Edge of Care

Reduce your edge of care costs and improve the life chances of vulnerable children and young people. Our solution brings statutory social work and multidisciplinary support together in a far more structured and focused way to deliver sustainable positive outcomes and huge cost-savings. Our aim is simple – to keep the young people we support safe and prevent them from being unnecessarily placed into care.

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High-Cost Placements

High-Cost Placements

Our managed service model is proven to increase the range of foster care provision available to meet the needs of children who would otherwise be placed within high-cost residential or external foster care placements. In return, you’ll save on your placement budget, increase your in-house foster service capacity and capabilities to secure better outcomes and reduce the number of placement moves for children and young people.

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MASH

MASH

Are you struggling to keep up with what is an impossible number of MASH referrals? Let us take the pressure off and help you develop a more robust, timely MASH. We’ll manage all contacts and referrals coming through your front-door and work with you to co-produce a new MASH model. One that secures timely outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families.

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Discharge of Care

Discharge of Care

Could addressing a much-overlooked area of discharge of care orders reduce LAC numbers and create direct cost-savings? By introducing a new model that promotes the timely discharge of care orders and the conversion of foster carers or kinship carers into Special Guardians, we can achieve measurable cost-savings. All whilst securing plans of permanence for children and young people.

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Safeguarding

Safeguarding

Do you have concerns about the length of time children are subject to child protection plans? If yes, how do you improve the timeliness of care proceedings and ensure that cases are front loaded? Holding case management for an agreed amount of time, we will dramatically increase the pace of action in progressing complex cases. We’ll also work with you to introduce proven sustainable longer-term solutions to reduce the risk of drift and delay.

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Children with Disabilities

Children with Disabilities

In most cases, needs of those children and young people can be met within Early Help or outside of social care within the local authority’s existing offer. Proven to close up to 30% of cases to social services and step down a further 20%, Innovate CYPS’ 14-week Children with Disabilities (CWD) programme reduces costs whilst identifying new care pathways for children, young people and their families.

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Service Auditing

Service Auditing

Are you preparing for an Ofsted inspection and want to understand where your services are at in terms of practice quality and performance? Our team will review your case files and practice across the child’s pathway to give you a thorough understanding of the areas that most need your attention.  As part of our knowledge-transfer, we also mentor your front-line managers on our auditing process for a 360 approach.

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

Want to know more?

Contact us to find out more about our Duty and Assessment programme.

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