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Weekly News Bulletin 

Wednesday 31st August 2022

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Children England News


Urgent request: the impact of the cost of living crisis
Is the steep rise in costs such as fuel and energy affecting your charity? Please complete the NCVO survey asap (today if possible!) so that infrastructure bodies like NCVO and Children England can share this evidence with government and seek tailored support for our sector. It asks for information about demand for support, energy and wider costs, and the impact that not receiving additional financial support will have on organisations and communities. Apologies for the short notice: government has asked for evidence with a very tight turnaround.

NCVO Chief Executive Sarah Vibert has written a blog describing the concerns charities are expressing to her including a 300% rise in energy costs.

Regional Care Co-operatives: a view from our CEO Kathy
"At best, it simply reorganises public procurement by adding a new layer of procurement decision-making and a wealth of new bureaucracy, making the RCC a fee-charging supplier of care to each council, as well as hoping it could strike tougher financial deals with the care companies they would still be relying on.

This idea places even more faith in market forces (and ‘customer power’) to deliver a solution to a public service disaster created by relying on market forces in the first place."

Read Kathy's full article on the Care Review's proposal for Regional Care Co-operatives in the MJ online. 

Contents

Government and Parliamentary News 

Time unaccompanied children spend in hotels reduced from ten to five days
The Home Office has announced that local authorities will have five, instead of ten, days to move unaccompanied asylum seeking children from emergency hotel accommodation into proper care placements. Councils will receive an additional £2,000 per child per month for the first three months if they move the child from a hotel to a placement within five working days. The Home Office has made further changes which means councils have to work to create placements based on a minimum of 0.1% unaccompanied children (rather than the previous 0.7%)  as a percentage of their overall child population. 

The Association of Directors of Children's Services has commented in CYP Now that these changes "do nothing to address the many pressing and longstanding pressures in the system that we continue to raise with government. For example, the inadequacy of the funding arrangements for care leavers and finding appropriate homes for children when they arrive here."

Two-year old early years offer to be extended to all children in NRPF households
In response to its consultation, the Department for Education has confirmed that it will go ahead with the extension of eligibility for the 15-hours free early years offer to all children whose families have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). It says: "We will implement this extension of eligibility to disadvantaged 2-year-old children in NRPF households as soon as is practicable so that children can benefit as soon as possible. We will be working closely with local authorities to ensure that they are well prepared to implement these changes so that the most disadvantaged children, irrespective of their circumstances, including their type of NRPF status, are able to access the entitlement. This includes working with delivery partners on clear guidance on how to assess eligibility for these households, including specifying income levels for NRPF households that are reasonably equivalent to the thresholds for RPF households."

The role of the voluntary sector in public service procurement
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published independent analysis to assist the government in targeting efforts first, to unlock public service spend for maximum social value and second, to support the sustainability of the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors. Key findings and recommendations include:
  • Local government commissioning is important for the sector. Therefore, supporting local commissioners’ awareness and understanding of the (local) VCSE sector is likely to increase the number of VCSEs participating in procurement (feeding into more appropriate contract design and application of the services provided by the sector). Developing infrastructure to support collaboration could also help stimulate procurement opportunities for specialist VCSEs locally.
  • Improving contract design: Government should engage the sector to determine the role of contract design in limiting ability to participate in procurement. Contract design can act as a barrier to engagement for organisations with different geographic reach, human resource and / or sector specialisms. VCSEs may be excluded based on the scope of the project’s tender specification (i.e., whether the requirements are specialist or general), the scale (i.e., local or across regions), and the price (i.e., are budgets realistic enough to meet the needs of the VCSE’s service users).
  • Supporting smaller VCSEs: Government should determine potential mechanisms to support smaller VCSEs seeking to participate in procurement, such as support with contract readiness, or the provision of ring-fenced contracts for smaller VCSEs. This could include ensuring proportionality and flexibility in the bidding process to encourage participation, and to ensure smaller VCSEs can continue to deliver services to meet regional needs.
  • Local engagement and co-production: For most of the sectors explored, commissioning primarily occurs at a local government level. Growth is therefore most likely at the local commissioning level, but should be considered alongside grant income (e.g., whereby VCSEs are currently receiving grants from local authorities, but could feasibly be positioned to secure both grants and contracts in future). Local authorities should also explore opportunities for co-production of requirements alongside VCSEs (and other providers), and further integrate ongoing initiatives in place to support VCSEs in public sector procurement, e.g. ring-fencing of projects below a certain threshold.
Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Cultural Education Plan appointed
Baroness Bull CBE has been appointed to chair the Expert Advisory Panel for the government's Cultural Education Plan, announced in the Schools White Paper. The full panel membership will be announced later this year, and will include school and cultural sector leaders, and other experts in cultural education. The plan aims to articulate and highlight the importance of high-quality cultural education in schools, promote the social value of cultural and creative education, outline and support career progression pathways, address skills gaps and tackle disparities in opportunity and outcome.
 

Sector News and Publications


Principles for SEND reform - support the Together Trust's letter
The Together Trust has written a letter for the Department for Education calling for any SEND reforms following its consultation to be founded on six principles. Reforms should:
  • Be co-designed with children and families
  • Strengthen compliance with the law
  • Ensure parental choice is retained
  • Make post-16 support a priority
  • Not squeeze children’s needs into funding bands
  • Address existing gaps in the Green Paper
Organisations and professionals are encouraged to sign up to the letter if they would like to support this call. The deadline is 5pm on September 16th

National Family Speech and Language Survey 
Are you someone who struggles with talking and understanding language? Do you have a family member who struggles with talking and understanding language? Sometimes this is called speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) or Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Charity I CAN wants more people to know what it's like to face challenges talking and understanding language. Please take their short survey to help - they can then tell the Government, the media and the general public what it's really like and how important it is to give children and young people the right support at the right time. It should only take 3-5 minutes.

Sharp rise in summer nursery closures
Many more nurseries have closed during the summer term than previously, setting course for a disastrous year for early years settings, says National Day Nurseries Association. NDNA, the voice of the early years sector, has tracked nursery closures since the 30 hours policy was introduced in 2017. During the summer term April to July 2022, 65% more nurseries have closed compared with the same months in 2021. With fuel bills soaring and inflation predicted to hit 18% next year, NDNA is warning the Government, the new Prime Minister and new Ministers at the Department for Education that this academic year could see record-breaking numbers of closures leading to a catastrophic reduction in places.

Therapeutic accommodation as an alternative to custody
Children England member St Christopher's Fellowship is one of two charities involved in a partnership trialling supported accommodation for young people as an alternative to custody. Initially providing accommodation in north and east London, the approach may be rolled out elsewhere in England and Wales if the Youth Justice Board judges it to be effective. CYP Now reports "The settings in east and north London are to provide accommodation for up to five young people aged 16 or 17 for a period of up to six months. They may have an order to be held on remand in a secure setting after being charged with an offence or already be in custody and need resettlement into the community." 

Protecting young people from gambling harm
Beacon Counselling Trust work in Partnership with Gamcare to deliver the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme across the U.K. It offers free educational workshops to all young people aged 10-19, deliver CPD accredited training to professionals who support young people, alongside awareness sessions for parents and caregivers. Their mission is to inform young people to make informed choices around gambling and gaming, whilst teaching how to signpost and refer into its free, no waitlist therapeutic treatment services that are available for anyone who is being harmed by their own gambling, or the gambling of  a loved one. To find out more please contact gamcare@beaconcounsellingtrust.co.uk.
 

Practice In Need of Evidence - free evaluation support for your interventions
As a part of its Practice In Need of Evidence (PINE) programme, the What Works Centre is looking to help social care organisations to be more evidence-minded and evaluate their own practice to a high standard. They would like to hear about any intervention which seeks to improve outcomes for children and families, and are particularly interested in offering free evaluation support to organisations delivering interventions or ways of working around:
  • Safeguarding under-1s
  • Preventing non-accidental Injury
  • Working with male carers to safeguard young children from injury

Sector Vacancies

At Child Poverty Action Group

Senior Policy and Research Officer
Contract: Full time, 12-month contract (will consider part-time)
Salary: £41,966 - £46,384 pro rata
Location: London office
Deadline: Midnight, Sunday 4th September
You will work with colleagues across the organisation to strengthen CPAG’s evidence base so that it is better able to influence decision makers and secure lasting improvements for children in low income families. You will be working in a fast moving, high profile and complex policy environment and will need to balance short-term priorities with long-term objectives.

As well as developing policy positions and supporting CPAG’s influencing activities, you will have particular responsibility for setting up processes for collecting evidence, case studies and claimant advocates.


At NSPCC

These roles are #OpenToAll and don't require a degree


Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officers x 2
Contract: Permanent, full time
Salary: £30,199 - £40,821, plus £3,366 London weighting allowance (if applicable)
Location: London - Weston House
Deadline: 11th September
We are seeking two exceptional and experienced Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officers to play a leading role in the NSPCC’s influencing work to ensure legislative and policy frameworks in England and the UK are fit for purpose in preventing the abuse and neglect of children.

You will join the team at a crucial moment for children in the UK and help us make the case for significant changes in, for example, child protection and children’s social care following landmark reviews and in the justice system through a strengthened Victim’s Law so young witnesses and victims receive the support they need. This is high-profile and fast-paced policy work and you’ll join a high performing, award winning team to develop and implement impactful public affairs strategies and policy calls, and ensure they gain real traction.

Events, training and consultancy services

At Missing People

Return Home Interview Training: Supporting children after a missing episode
Date: Tuesday 27th September, 9.30am - 1pm
Location: online
Cost: £69
Missing People is running its next virtual training webinar on Tuesday 27th September from 9:30am –1:00pm. The training aims to grow participants’ understanding of why young people / children run away and what help they might need on return as well as providing tools to help professionals engage young people, develop person-centred responses, and help young people develop a safety plan. The training is suitable for social workers, youth workers and third sector workers delivering return home interviews.

If you have any questions about the session, please contact Shamil at Missing People. 
 


From Healthcare Conferences UK

Preventing Suicide in Young People & Children
Date: Thursday 17th November
Location: online
This Sixth National Conference which this year will be held virtually focuses on Saving Young Lives – Preventing Suicide in Children and Young People. By attending this one day conference you will hear from expert speakers on how your services can reduce preventable suicides and save young lives. Through national updates, case studies from multi-agency settings and lived experience insight, this conference aims to set the scene for progress already being made and what needs to change to improve resilience, wellbeing, mental health support and effectively prevent suicide in children and young people. The conference will use case studies to demonstrate interventions that work in health, schools, universities and multi-agency settings. The conference will examine implementation of the self harm and suicide prevention competence framework for children and young people and will also reflect on suicide prevention in young people during Covid-19.

Receive a 20% discount with code hcuk20che

For Children England's current events calendar please
click through to our website.

Up to date lists for our training services are also online, as is a price list for the courses you can request from us. 

Consultations

(new consultations and inquiries are marked in *bold*):

Closing 9th September 2022
Department for Education: Implementing the direct national funding formula for schools

Closing 11th September 2022
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission: A new approach to SEND inspections Closing 16th September 2022
Department for Education: Early years funding formulae

Closing 21st September 2022
Department for Education: Implementing a new FE funding and accountability system

Closing 30th September 2022
Department for Education Understanding the use of unregistered alternative provision

Closing 9th October 2022
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Dormant Assets funding

Closing 8th November 2022
Department of Health and Social Care: Down's Syndrome Act guidance: Call for evidence
Children England's news bulletin is produced weekly and is designed to keep you up to date with the latest developments in children and families policy.

If you or your organisation have new research, campaigns or policy development in children and families work that you'd like us to share, send us the details and we'll include it in Children England News.
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