We (Gloucestershire County Council) were awarded £1.52m to re-structure our adolescents service into multi-agency teams. The innovation aimed to lower re-referrals to children’s social care, enable more families to access appropriately high quality interventions, ensure fewer families were in crisis situations and achieve a net reduction in reactive public expenditure arising from high cost short-term care.
Social work interventions do not consistently deliver a lasting improvement in the lives of vulnerable children and their families. Focus, energy and cost can sometimes go into formal planning and assessment, rather than delivering lasting change. Coupled to this, is an unsustainable service that is incident-based and relies on short term referrals and assessments. Furthermore, the system lacks incentives for different providers to work together effectively, leading to a fragmented approach. This can get in the way of providing a holistic, jointly-owned service that is able to intervene effectively in the lives of children and their families.
We aimed to create a single unified authority-wide approach (including dedicated teams for over 11s children in care) for adolescents that pooled expertise from youth support, children’s social care and CAMHS. Alongside this a new practice approach was developed. This ‘BASE model’ integrated attachment theory and restorative practice within a competency framework as well as a suite of assessment and case management tools.
One key strength was the use of mixed professional groups of social workers and youth workers testing the BASE model. This provided an opportunity to engage in critical self-reflection.
Gloucestershire Council are preparing to roll-out the BASE model county-wide, with the aim of covering approximately 300 professionals and 2,500 young people and is investing a further circa £6million in developing a multi professional service for the most high risk young people (including residential and foster care provision) .
Gloucestershire County Council