Child Friendly City
We want Leeds to be the best city in the UK. To help achieve this ambition, we’re working to bring businesses, partners, communities, families and individuals together to make Leeds a child friendly city. The idea of child friendly cities comes from the United Nations convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC). The Convention was adopted by the UN in 1989 and sets out internationally agreed minimum standards. The convention contains 54 articles which cover the main areas of children’s lives. The UK signed in 1991. The articles apply to every child under 18 without exception.
What are we doing to create Child Friendly Leeds?
We’re investing more time and resources into improving things for our children and young people now because we believe this is essential for our city’s regeneration; if we work together to nurture and support children and young people as they grow up, we will all enjoy the benefits. This forms part of our Vision for Leeds 2011-2030.
Read more about our commitment to achieving this in the Downloads tab at the bottom of this page.
Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA)
The Leeds Obsessions - A journey of OBA in Leeds
Leeds is the second largest metropolitan borough authority in England with a population of three quarters of a million people. We have 178,000 children and young people aged 0 to 19, representing 23% of the city’s total population. The size and diversity of the city creates opportunities, but also some significant challenges. It is no secret that Leeds has had consistently relatively high numbers of looked after children in comparison with its neighbours. Nigel Richardson was appointed as Director of Children’s Services in Autumn 2010 and brought with him experience of Outcomes Based Accountability, having previously implemented the methodologies in his role in Hull. His clarity of vision was articulated through five outcome statements, declaring the intention that children and young people in Leeds will:
- Be safe from harm
- Do well at all levels of learning and have the skills for life
- Choose healthy lifestyles
- Have fun growing up
- Be active citizens who feel they have voice and influence
These five outcomes were the starting point of the OBA journey, and have been defined in measurable terms by 17 indicators. Of the 17 indicators, three were identified as priorities and became known in Leeds as “The Obsessions”. These are:
- Number of looked after children
- School attendance
- 16 – 18 NEET* rate
(* NEET: Not in Education, Employment or Training)
With the outcomes and indicators for the City defined, our next challenge was to move from talk to action. In January 2011, the Children’s Services Directorate took the lead on introducing the OBA™ process to staff. Members and key partner agencies across the City were brought together before identifying and training a cohort of 36 OBA facilitators. Although the outcomes and indicators were felt to be right for the City as whole, the forces and drivers in different localities vary significantly. Reflecting this, Leeds is divided into geographical ‘clusters’ of schools, children’s centres and other children’s services. The team of local facilitators have been made available to the clusters as a resource to enable a series of locality “Turning the Curve” workshops to take place based around the three obsessions. From this, with the engagement of key partners, local cluster plans are being drawn up, the actions from which will in turn contribute towards the desired City wide outcomes.
Restorative Practice (RP)
Restorative practice is about building, maintaining and repairing relationships with the fundamental premise that people are happier, more co-operative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them. Helping people find creative solutions to issues that are affecting them that avoid blame, retribution and punishment. It can help to build social capital and a sense of community in all settings, from schools, children’s homes, police, social care, partnerships and communities. In Leeds we are using RP strategies across the organisation, to improve the way we communicate and engage with each other as well as with children, young people and families.
Family Group Conferencing
Families experience problems from time to time and sometimes need support from agencies in order to meet their children’s needs. A Family Group Conference is a way of providing families with an opportunity to get together to make the best plan for their children, with support from these agencies. It is a meeting that can include the whole family and any friends involved in a child’s life. A Family Group Conference uses the family’s own skills, strengths and personal knowledge to resolve difficulties. Using the family’s own expertise and ensuring their involvement in the planning of the Family Group Conference, means that it is a tool that can be effectively used by diverse communities to make safe and culturally sensitive plans for children. In Leeds we have invested in developing our Family Group Conferencing Service and continue to do so, having seen a transformation in the way families and partners have worked together when using the conferencing tool.
Visit the Family Group Conference page for more information on the ways in which Family Group Conferences can help families.
The Children and Young People’s Plan 2011-2015, available from the Documents section, shows our most recent performance indicators and outcomes.