North London Children’s Efficiency Programme aims to ensure that young people entering care are placed locally rather than far away from home. Being close to friends and family and having access to local services, improves outcomes for young people and reduces costs.
As a partnership, the programme consisted of collaboration across five London boroughs to try to improve outcomes for young people on the edge of care. The programme involved opening a specialised residential assessment facility for young people entering care, or already in care, and their families or carers. The aim was to support stability, or re-unification within the family, or provide a period in which to carry out a comprehensive assessment so that a suitable alternative, long-term placement could be determined if a return home was not possible.
The programme involved: holding service design workshops; engaging with providers and developing a fair procurement process to select a provider; collaborating on a comprehensive demand mapping; developing a predictive tool to successfully identify the cohort of young people; establishing referral criteria; and developing a financial risk sharing model.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2016 found that a residential unit had not yet been set up. However, the set-up work was prepared and the partnership was in the process of designing a common referral process, selecting a facility provider and collaborating with a social finance organisation regarding a funding model.