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Case study: Department for Education and Northamptonshire Children's Trust

Updated: Apr 15

Client: Department for Education

Date: August 2019 - Present

Challenges faced by the client: Due to continued poor performance in children’s social care services, on 10th June 2019 the DfE issued a Statutory Direction to Northamptonshire County Council, to work with the Secretary of State for Education and/or the Children’s Services Commissioner towards the establishment of a wholly-owned council company for the delivery of children’s social care services in Northamptonshire (the children’s services trust).

This is a large and complex project with multiple work packages, from service design to performance frameworks to outsourced support service arrangements. There is significant additional complexity due to the future creation of two unitary Councils in the County, expected to take place shortly after the Trust ‘goes live’, in 2021.

The DfE commissioned MV to work alongside the Council and Trust officials to support the Programme and ensure the successful establishment of the children’s trust.

Support offered: MV’s remit included the design and management of the programme to create the children’s services trust, including the development of a governance structure and the building up of a programme team, jointly staffed by MV and council stakeholders. MV is managing the programme, ensuring the timely delivery of the project, in particular ensuring timely and thorough activity on key workstreams, including defining and agreeing the scope of the Trust, contract negotiation, HR and support for the County Council in securing key approvals. MV was also tasked to perform due diligence of existing processes, systems and assets and quality assure all deliverables produced.

MV is working with senior stakeholders from across the County Council, as well as the Departments for Education and the Ministry for Communities, Housing and Local Government, to ensure that the implementation of the Trust is delivered as best as possible. We have implemented a robust governance process for the programme, comprised of multiple workstreams, such as the transferring of Staff to the new organisations and property arrangements, to ensure this significant public service reform work is delivered within challenging timeframes and complex contextual factors.

We are also providing additional support to the finance workstream of the future Trust, making use of our strategic finance experts to 'hold the pen' on creating a robust budget for the Trust and ensuring Council assumptions are challenged when appropriate so that the Trust has the requisite budget to deliver high quality social care to children and young people.

Finally, MV is offering first-hand support to Trust Officials, conducting induction sessions and preparing both sides for negotiations.