Mutual Ventures

Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme

In 2013 the Department for Education (DfE) announced it would establish the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme to drive innovation throughout the sector.

The Department at the time wrote that although “there has been and continues to be improvement in outcomes for children – we are not yet achieving significant and sustained improvement.” Both the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and the Local Government Association agreed with the DfE in that a culture of risk avoidance and compliance in Children’s Services made it more difficult to innovate and this made improvements in outcomes slower. The DfE established the Innovation Programme to provide an environment for local authorities to stimulate and support innovation and allow other councils to learn from successful models. The Innovation Programme works with a variety of different projects across the country which are all focused on supporting vulnerable children and young people.

Support offered

Alongside Innovation Unit and the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Mutual Ventures have provided individual support to each project as well as project management support to the DfE. This has included:

  • Providing a dedicated named coach work with each project
  • Facilitating and deliver shared learning events. The benefits of the partnership include deep sector understanding, skill in scaling and spreading innovation, and technical knowledge and experience
  • Provide access to flexible support from a pool of specialist advisors in social care, innovation, alternative delivery models, legal, finance, HR, social finance etc

Outcome achieved

Our team of coaches provided ongoing and high-quality support to Projects throughout the life of the contract. Providing both challenge and support to projects and accurate and timely information to the DfE (via quarterly reports and ongoing analysis).

Feedback on Mutual Ventures’ coaches included:

“Excellent [quality coaching]- the project would not have been able to achieve its current outcomes.” Implementation Manager for a Staying Close Project.

“very accessible, communicative and understanding. Their support has been excellent.” Commissioning Manager for a Care Leaver SIB Project.

“I feel [our coach] is very helpful and knowledgeable and has listened to us regarding the support we have needed and so not just offered sessions for the sake of it but given us things we needed”. Staying Close Project Manager.

“[Our coach] has been excellent at providing support and guidance in how to manage complex relationships. When there have been barriers, he has actively supported the project to identify interventions to overcome them.” Strategic Programme Lead for a Project.