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Case study: West Midlands Children’s Services Delivery Model

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

Project: West Midlands Children’s Services Delivery Model: Options Appraisal and Outline Business Case

Client: West Midlands Children’s Services (WMCS)

Date: March 2019 – August 2019

Challenges faced by the client: West Midlands Children’s Services (WMCS) is a vehicle whose purpose is to support the West Midlands Directors of Children’s Services Network on a self-determined journey to be the best region for Children Services in the country. WMCS do this through promoting collaboration between the 14 local authorities across the region, developing opportunities for self-improvement, innovation and best practice.

WMCS was established in 2017 as a service hosted by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. After nearly two years of operations, it was well established and demonstrated significant value for money. However, with the majority of key funding due to end over the next 12 months, WMCS and the DCS Network had to reflect on how the team would be funded going forward. It was decided it was an opportune moment to review the WMCS delivery model with an aim to identify a sustainable model that would support regional collaboration in the future.

Support offered: MV delivered Options Appraisal to explore various potential delivery models for WMCS, including their pros and cons, and financial implications.

The Options Appraisal process concluded that the LA Joint Venture (LA JV) is the preferred model to deliver the WMCS services. This model allows the service to pursue common, regional objectives whilst being flexible to local priorities by ensuring the LAs ownership. The LA JV ensures a clear governance structure, policies and decision-making processes, minimises risk exposure due to political changes in one LA, and provides a platform for cultural change, income generation and increased resilience, retention and skills within WMCS delivery team.

Subsequently, MV developed an Outline Business Case (OBC) for the recommended option. It explored in more detail the proposed governance, commissioning and operating arrangements for the LA JV.

Outcome achieved: The Directors of Childrens Services approved the Joint Contractual Venture as the preferred delivery model for WMCS. Work delivered by MV allowed to kick start the transformation into the new delivery model for the WMCS service, providing a clear case for change and implementation roadmap.

Our work also identified significant commercial growth opportunities for WMCS. At the back of this, the service decided to develop a trading arm that would deliver income generating projects for local authorities and other clients beyond the region. This will ensure financial sustainability of the service in the long term.

“The whole exercise has helped us to craft a sustainable model that we are excited about and will allow us to continue to develop the work in this collaborative way across the region.”

Hugh Disley, Strategy Manager at West Midlands Children’s Services


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