Journey to Excellence: thriving children – strong families

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
  • deveop 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 £172million savings 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


Outcomes for children and benefits to services

This programme will deliver the following:


Outcomes for children

Benefits to services

Children ‘in need’ and those ‘in need of protection’ and their families are supported through evidence based plans which build family resilience

Reduce length of social care involvement and re-referrals, reduced numbers of looked after children & children on child protection plans

Children & young people are fully involved in shaping and reviewing services and plans which affect them

Less drop out of services as services are more acceptable and accessible to service users

Children make concrete progress through assertive, co-ordinated and evidence based early support plans

Reduce contacts and re-referrals to social care, reduce multiple assessments and repeated interventions (‘right first time’ and ‘tell us once’)

Looked after children, particularly those with the most complex needs/in residential care, have improved educational attendance & outcomes

Children and young people with poor school attendance and those excluded are more likely to get into trouble with the police and have poorer long term outcomes

Children and families are supported by Practitioners (across agencies) who feel more purposeful and confident in addressing concerns and risks

Increase school attendance and take up of universal services by children. It will help the recruitment and retention of workers

Looked after children, particularly those with the most complex needs, are supported by evidence based therapeutic support plan

Reduce the numbers of looked after children & children cared for outside of the Bradford District

More children are cared for through safe and supported kinship care (including timely step down where appropriate)

Reduce the numbers of looked after children

Looked after children (with a specific focus on the most complex and those in residential care) are supported by consistent and attachment based care

Less disruptions to placements, reduced numbers cared outside of Bradford District, increased staff retention and satisfaction

Child-centred response to young people in crisis – out of hours – will provide someone for young people to talk to and support them back to care

Less time searching for children and respond in the least restrictive way

Parents of disabled young people and young people report they are clear of their plans prior to their 18th birthdays

Clear decision-making, less duplication and reduced use of more expensive building based care

Increasing the numbers of young people and families who take up direct payments and manage their own packages of care which includes them in their local community

Reduction in higher cost support packages, behavioural support services and residential respite

For more information

Contact Mark Anslow or Barbara Cowling email

External Links

Briefing document

Signs of Safety & Early Help Presentation

J2E Briefing for headteachers and Chairs of Governors - April 2016

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