Duty & Assessment:
Lancashire County Council



4920 children’s cases managed



32 five-week duty cycles over 9 months



98% completed within timescales

Innovate Services, duty & assessment, Lancashire County Council, frontline social work, children's services, referral and assessment service, case study

The challenge

Lancashire County Council required a long-term social work partner to deliver their Referral and Assessment Service (RAS), champion change and best practice and to deliver high quality frontline social work as part of their improvement programme.

Being adept at delivering large scale social-work led transformation programmes across the UK, Innovate CYPS was well-placed to work in partnership with the Council to achieve the changes needed.

Our approach

Firstly, Innovate CYPS needed to understand the exact challenges faced by Lancashire’s RAS. We led several meetings with the Council where we carried out a thorough analysis of the current business process.

After putting forward a bespoke model, the Council agreed for us to initiate our transformation delivery programme. We promptly mobilised 5 managers and 45 peripatetic consultant practitioners inside of just four weeks; five teams of nine social workers, a manager and assistant manager. All practitioners had over 4 years’ experience, with the vast majority being ABE and court room trained.

Innovate Services, duty & assessment, Lancashire County Council, frontline social work, children's services, referral and assessment service, case study


The mobilisation and compliance process was rigorous, with crucial aspects delivered on-site in Lancashire. Logistically, this involved face-to-face interviews with senior managers, the creation of a tailored resource pack, detailed process mapping, and a project briefing day involving all appointed practitioners, managers and project support business administrators, led by Innovate CYPS’ senior management team, followed by ICT inductions and full E-learning.

Comprehensive service

Working on a five-week duty team cycle, our teams provided a comprehensive service focused on high quality assessments and thorough case management to specific points of transfer back to Lancashire. During 32 duty cycles, our consultant practitioners collectively progressed and case-managed a total of 4920 cases inside of 9 months. Every cycle involved assessing and safely progressing 900 children, with 98% of all assessments completed to timescales, an average of 15/20 working days.

Innovate Services, duty & assessment, Lancashire County Council, frontline social work, children's services, referral and assessment service, case study

The results

Meeting all pre-agreed key performance indicators, the project was delivered on time and to budget, whilst going beyond solving purely short-term issues. We provided reliable strategic advice and support and drove best practice to help Lancashire embed improved processes and find innovative ways of working. This also involved the implementation of a strategy to strengthen multiagency partners working in compliance with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.

A clear exit strategy was carefully planned and actioned to leave a legacy of timely child focused outcomes underpinned by high quality practice. Our bespoke approach in Lancashire received praise from Eleanor Schooling, Ofsted’s National Director of Social Care.

What our clients say

“Innovate CYPS demonstrated a great deal of trust and confidence in their ability to provide a fully managed bespoke duty and assessment service. This has given us the opportunity to concentrate on other important practice areas, enabling us to make significant improvements.”

Linda Clegg, Director of Children’s Services,
Lancashire County 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.

Find out more
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.

Explore how
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.

Read More
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.

Read more

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.

Find out how
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.

Find out how
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.

Read More
  • 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 out more about our Duty & Assessment Service.

Contact Us