Journey to Excellence: thriving children – strong families

Journey to Excellence is a new programme of change which involves key partners across the Bradford District. Its purpose is to ensure we have a shared approach to working with families that builds on their strengths and provides safety and stability for children. The programme will transform services, improve outcomes and provide financial savings over time. The programme will deliver the following changes:

Developing our integrated Early Help offer across all key agencies to:

  • develop an ‘Early Help’ gateway for the public and staff 
  • develop an approach that takes account of the whole family 
  • get it right first time to reduce repeat referrals 
  • focus on reducing the demand on Children’s Specialist Services

Refocusing children’s placement provision within the Bradford District to deliver:

  • smaller children’s homes 
  • more foster carers for teenagers 
  • a shared model of care across placements, health, education and other key services

Provide a better response to young people in crisis:

  • young people in crisis receive a rapid and supportive response 
  • develop a model for more joint working across key social care and health teams 
  • there are more safe spaces for young people when they are in crisis

Develop an integrated service across children’s, adult’s and health services for young people with aged 14-25 years with complex health and/or disabilities:

  • timely plans which prepare young people for adulthood 
  • adult Services within the Council will lead more young people and families to direct their own support through direct payments

We are working with partners to develop a plan to use signs of safety to cut across the programme. Signs of Safety is a practice tool to identify strengths, risks and clear action plans with families. It provides an assertive and shared approach to assessing needs which has worked well in other Local Authorities to reduce demand for specialist services and improve outcomes for children and young people.

The work will be overseen by the Children’s Trust Board and the Children’s Services Departmental Management Team. We will provide regular updates and progress reports.

Why it is needed now?

By 2020 it is estimated the money for Council services that is under the Council’s direct control will reduce by some £100 million, from £401 million today to around £300 million - that’s over 25% and is on top of the savings of £172million already made.

The numbers of younger and older people are growing and so is the number of people with disabilities. That means there are a lot more of us living here and, because people are living a lot longer, there are more of us who need care. Other challenges include more children needing care and protection.

Bradford’s Children’s Services and Safeguarding Board are required to have an Early Help offer to the public which will deliver improved outcomes to families. Early Help forms part of Children’s Services Ofsted inspection framework.

Bradford’s existing Early Help offer is not robust. It is a mixture of discrete services which deliver a range of services without clear focus, vision, ownership or performance framework. The lack of a clear Early Help offer has led to duplication, frustration and poor outcomes for families

The Children’s Centre will be a key element in the delivery of services as part of the new early help offer.

The programme contributes to the New Deal and Children’s and Young People’s Plan and will:

  • accelerate progress in the Bradford District’s Children’s Plan priority areas, particularly educational achievements 
  • increase the education outcomes and improve placement stability (reduce the number of moves) for looked after children 
  • safely reduce the numbers of children subject to Child Protection Plans 
  • show sustainable progress on reducing the numbers of looked-after children and those children who are being looked after outside of the Bradford District

For more information, email: journeytoexcellence@bradford.gov.uk