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Focus on Practice

Project start date: July 2014

We (Westminster City Council, Kensington & Chelsea Council, Hammersmith & Fulham Council) were awarded £4m to completely redesign how children’s social care is delivered, so that professionals can spend more time with children and families, and so that practice is rooted in greater expertise and evidence. ‘Focus on Practice’ was designed to bring greater coherence and confidence to social work practice and embed a new culture based on systems thinking.

Westminster City Council (WCC) Kensington & Chelsea Council (K&C) and Hammersmith & Fulham Council (H&F) are a Partner in Practiceclick here for more information


Project Summary


Children and family practitioners face a number of challenges in developing purposeful practice with children, young people and families. These include: resources being focused on assessment, instead of intervention; case management and referrals taking precedent over direct interaction; a lack of focus on mainstream change; and too many repeat referrals.

The Focus on Practice innovation built on the knowledge, confidence and expertise of practitioners and managers to effect changes for families through a comprehensive skills development programme incorporating systemic practice, Signs of Safety, Motivational Interviewing and parenting programmes. Alongside this, clinicians were embedded within services and invested in an observation, coaching and motivational interviewing programme.

Moving forward we are building on Focus on Practice by growing the number of systematically trained practitioners and developing a Centre for social work to share learning with the sector.

Find out more

Project contact details

Matt Watson

Julie Rooke


Project evaluators

Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education

Project partners

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Westminster City Council

Hammersmith and Fulham Council

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