The project aims to bring about a step change in service for vulnerable young children aged 10-25 and their families through two distinct aims: (i) To test a new practice theory which includes integrated attachment and resilience theory with restorative practice (ii) To develop a unified authority-wide service for the most vulnerable families, combining expertise from targeted youth support, children’s social care and the CAMHS element of the NHS.
The new service 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.
Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) rolled-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).
Certain elements of the BASE model (e.g. risk assessment) remain in use within GCC. As of February 2020, stakeholders have refocused on developing a new integrated service for high-risk adolescents in care with complex needs known locally as the Intensive Recovery Intervention Service (IRIS).
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 found that:
- The 14 practitioners involved in the qualitative research generally valued the BASE assessment model and ‘formulation meetings’, which facilitated a deeper understanding of young people’s presenting behaviours.
- Having a common and clear definition of the practice model meant that practitioners were able to involve other agencies and to communicate progress using common reference points and language. There was some qualitative evidence that this had reduced the propensity for social workers to hand-off cases unnecessarily.
- Initial feedback from the 18 young people involved in the initial piloting of the BASE model found that they generally compared the approach favourably to traditional social work practices.
- A small-scale comparison of 10 cases revealed potential cost savings, arising from fewer escalations from CIN to CP, more rapid step-down from CIN plans, and fewer hand-offs between agencies under the new arrangements, compared with business as usual. There was insufficient data to monetise these benefits in full.