Child Friendly Leeds

One minute guide: Leeds Innovations and Partner in Practice programme

What is the Leeds Innovations and Partner in Practice programme?

The Department for Education (DfE) run two initiatives focused on improving practice within children’s services across the country:

The Innovations Programme invites local authorities and other organisations to develop proposals for working differently with children, young people and families. The DfE provides funding to help develop and test the most innovative proposals, with the aim of sharing best practice nationally across the sector.

The Partner in Practice (PiP) programme sees the DfE work in partnership with leading local authorities to understand how they achieved good Ofsted ratings and how they can improve further, and to drive sector-led improvement between local authorities. The DfE make funding available to support this partnership work.

Leeds is a DfE Partner in Practice, as a result of our Ofsted inspection in 2015 where we were judged to be ‘Good’ overall followed by our Ofsted inspection in 2018, where we were judged to be ‘Outstanding’ overall.

Leeds put forward a combined bid for both our Innovations proposals and to support our Partners in Practice work, and in early 2017 we were successful in securing £9.6m of investment from the DfE over a three year period. At that time this was the highest award given to a single local authority through the programmes across the country, and is a marker of the ambition and innovation within our proposals. The programme was extended for 12 months and will conclude in 2021.

What is the Leeds programme about?

The Leeds programme is based on creating the conditions for children’s services and partner agency practitioners to work more closely together, providing more holistic support, advice and interventions for children, young people and families. The programme is also concerned with improving the quality of practice both in Leeds and with other local authorities.

We are fortunate in Leeds to have a range of resources and support available for families across all age ranges and levels of need, and the Innovations and PiP programme will help us to improve co-ordination of this offer.

What are the main aspects of the programme?

There are four main aspects to the Leeds Innovations and PiP programme:

Restorative Early Support (RES) Teams within local communities - building on the effective work of children’s services in local clusters and communities, bringing extra capacity and a common approach through Leeds Practice Model (Rethink Formulation, Leeds Practice Principles, Outcome Focused Supervision, Multi-agency context and Continuous Professional Development) into high need areas to ensure closer working between children and families services practitioners, schools and partner agencies;

Rethink formulation - using a single formulation model (Rethink) and the other elements of Leeds Practice Model to unify and develop practice across services in Leeds. The aim is to embed Leeds Practice Model into as many various aspects of children and families services work as possible; this is done by using a range of methods including regular and ongoing multiagency Rethink Formulation forums and other complementary approaches.

Futures - supporting young women and men who have experienced the first time removal of a baby, under the age of 12 months, through care proceedings. The service prioritises parents who are also care leavers who make up a disproportionate number of young birth parents who experience the removal of a baby. Aiming to help the young people achieve more positive futures and to avoid the future removal of babies.

Leeds Relational Practice Centre - developing a network of local authorities committed to relational, whole-system improvement and innovation; building on our previous work to share lessons from Leeds’ improvement journey through hosting a series of good practice events for example; and support individual local authorities with identified areas for development as part of the Department for Education Sector Led Improvement programme.

For more information

The Leeds Innovation and Partner in Practice programme is a significant programme of work that has been delivered over four years, with benefits extending far beyond.

For more information, please contact

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