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Case Study: National Online Event for DfE’s Strengthening Families Protecting Children programme

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Client: Department for Education

Date: 14-15 June 2022

Event purpose: Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) is a five-year programme set up by the Department for Education (DfE) to support local authorities improve their work with families. The programme aims to enable more children to stay at home in stable family environments so that fewer children need to be taken into care.

On 14-15 June 2022, the SFPC National Learning Online Event was held with the aim of showcasing the three Strengthening Families models, highlighting their impact on children and families. Over 600 representatives from local authorities, central government, VCSE, and health across the UK attended nineteen sessions across two days.

The event created a platform through which programme learning and insights into the three SFPC models could be more widely shared, these being No Wrong Door, Family Valued and Family Safeguarding. We heard from the Innovator authorities behind each of the models (North Yorkshire, Leeds and Hertfordshire), as well as from some of the authorities who are successfully adopting the models. The event was opened by Dawn Taylor, then Deputy Director for Innovation, Learning and Digital at DfE and Minister Quince, then Minister for Children and Families.

Support provided: Mutual Ventures, in partnership with the Innovation Unit (IU), was responsible for the planning, set up and running of the event as well as developing post-event materials and communications. Working closely with not only the Innovators and Adopters and the What Works Centre for Children's Social Care (WWCSC) but ensuring close alignment with the DfE throughout was vital to the event's success. Additionally, the learning team and coaches provided those local authorities leading and presenting in sessions varying degrees of support for content development.

Outcomes: One of the things that made the event so impactful was the variety of voices that were represented across the two days. This ranged from Ministers and industry leaders such as Josh McAlister and Isabelle Trowler to Directors of Children's services from across the country as well as Social Workers, Speech and Language Therapists and many others. We also heard from families and young people who had experienced the impact of the models first-hand.

This event not only provided Local Authorities on the programme the opportunity to share learning around the implementation of the models but also explore in deeper detail some topics that were more model specific. This included ‘Family Led Decision Making’ for Leeds Family Valued, ‘Enabling the System to work for the Child’ for North Yorkshire’s No Wrong Door and ‘Leading System and Cultural Change’ for Hertfordshire’s Family Safeguarding.

Throughout the second day, a number of cross-programme sessions were held exploring various spotlight topics, such as leadership, the role of partnership working and workforce and retention. These sessions were chaired by MV and IU coaches and included representatives from each model.

For the closing session, we heard thoughts from Josh MacAlister, the Chair of The Independent Review of Children's Social Care and Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, on the SFPC programme and its place within the context of the Care Review recommendations.

Feedback from the event included:

  • “It was a really interesting and insightful two days and great to hear from all the innovators and adopters.”

  • “The SFPC event is ambitious and awesome.”

More information on the event, including recordings of all the sessions, can be found here.


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