Mutual Ventures

Children’s Services

Children’s services are facing significant challenges in the current financial and social climate, and local authorities across the country are becoming increasingly interested in exploring innovative new ways to deliver services.

Fundamentally, improving outcomes for children, young people and families must remain at the heart of children’s social care and will be a continual focus for services. However, services are beginning to think strategically and creatively about how to tackle some of the key issues they face, such as:

  • Improving frontline practice through leadership and cultural change
  • Managing demand effectively, for example ensuring that children and young people do not enter care unnecessarily
  • Increasing the effectiveness of services targeted to specific cohorts as young people on the edge of care.

The MV team has worked with over 50 different local authorities and third sector organisations to support the delivery of innovation in Children’s Services across the UK. Many of our team are “coaches” as part of the Spring Consortium, the delivery partner for the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme. This has included helping organisations to:

  • Develop their ideas, identify the outcomes they are seeking to deliver, be that radical new innovation or scaling something that works to other LAs;
  • Supporting them to deliver their project; and
  • Providing focused support with financial modelling and sustainability planning.

Strategic Planning – our team can help you identify an overarching strategy for the future of your services, analyse service trends, provide thought leadership and advise on practical delivery solutions. Find out more about our Strategy service.

New Delivery Models – we are experts in helping organisations establish new ways of delivering Children’s Services. This might involve moving the service into a local authority owned trading company or an independent social enterprise, or developing a joint venture possibly between a number of local authorities. Find out more about our New Delivery Models service.

Performance Improvement – our work is focused on long-term transformation and sustainable improvement rather than a ‘quick fix’ and our work ranges across: performance management frameworks, quality assurance, case management/case recording systems, business process reviews and service redesign, service evaluation and review, and coaching and mentoring. Fins out more about our Performance Improvement service.

Service Transformation – we can help children’s services providers to consider changes to the way services are delivered. This may be through the development of a new Public Service Operating Model. Find out more about our Service Transformation offer.

Our offer specific to Local Authority Trading Companies, Social Enterprises and Charities operating within Children’s Services includes:

Growth and Partnerships- MV is experienced in supporting organisations to scale their impact sustainably. For example, we provide coaching support to enable access to new contract opportunities or consideration of the best way to scale your business model such as partnership or social franchising approaches. Find out more about our Growth and Partnerships service.

Investment and Impact- our team can help you to consider social investment, develop your business case and become investment ready. We can help you to demonstrate your social impact, develop new approaches to measuring impact and advise on implementing new ways of working across your organisation. Find out more about our Investment and Impact service.


If you would like more information or to discuss how we can help, please get in touch with David Fairhurst

Some examples of our work:

Wakefield Children’s Services – Mutual Ventures was commissioned by Wakefield Council to provide performance improvement support to the Children’s Services senior leadership team and Business Intelligence service. The initial phase of work over a three month period included: designing a performance management framework for Children’s Social Care; establishing a data quality framework; providing direct support and coaching to staff; and advising on a fit for purpose team structure. Read the full case study

Achieving for Children- Two ambitious local authorities, The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, took the radical step of creating a new local authority owned social enterprise, Achieving for Children, to deliver their shared Children’s services. MV worked with both Councils to develop the new organisation, including advising on business development and strategic marketing, and helping the team to design and implement new staff engagement practices. Read the full case study

Sunderland City Council appointed MV to support the development of a new organisation to deliver children’s services, Together for Children. This support included advising on business development and strategic marketing, and helping the new leadership team design and implement new staff engagement practices. Read the full case study

Sandwell MBC – the council decided to set up a public service mutual (SIPs Education) to run the school support services, securing approximately 450 jobs and ensuring the continued provision of quality services for schools. Mutual Ventures was appointed to provide expert support including developing a five-year business plan, setting up the governance structure, defining procurement processes and drawing up an implementation strategy. Read the full case study

Social Care Innovation Programme – MV provide support to organisations delivering innovation in children’s services via the Department for Education (DfE) Social Care Innovation Programme. This programme encompasses a range of different types of innovation: from new and radical approaches to deliver specific functions within children’s social care; to re-designing local systems; to scaling and spreading successful innovation across a region. The programme provided £100m in grant funding to support innovation in its first two years and a further £200m was committed in 2016 for the following four years. Read the full case study

Devon County Council Youth services – MV worked with Devon County Council to establish a new model (Space*) by: exploring a range of delivery models; business planning; developing a social impact and social value framework; testing legal form and governance of the mutual; and implementation planning. Read the full case study