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Case study: Department for Education Children's Social Care Innovation Programme


Client: The Department for Education, Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme


Date: March 2014 – March 2021


Challenges faced by the client: In 2013 the 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.” A culture of risk avoidance and compliance in Children’s made it more difficult to innovate and this made improvements in outcomes slower. This was supported by both the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and the Local Government Association. 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.


Support offered: Alongside Innovation Unit and the Social Care Institute for Excellence we 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).