Adding value to frontline services
In these challenging times for children’s social work services getting value for money and good quality services for young people and their families is a daily quest that can feel impossible.
Many leaders in social care will have experienced the need to address a recruitment crisis or the need to deal quickly with an upsurge in demand or management of a struggling team or service. A common response is to parachute in agency workers, often from multiple agencies providers, however this is beset with problems of quality, consistency and appropriate oversight. Additionally, it does not provide the bandwidth to senior leaders within the Local Authorities, to understand and get to grips with the root cause of the problems faced. An already struggling service may have to cope with extra staff and to deal with supervision, extra performance monitoring and individual performance issues.
This input-based approach rewards the agency for the provision of a social worker, rather than for the quality of their work, and ultimately their output.
My job, and the job of the Xyla team, is to offer tailored solutions to some of these challenges. We deliver value by increasing capacity of frontline service delivery, giving capacity back to LAs to focus on other matters (such as developing a new practice model and/or tackling the improvement plan that was generated out of the last focussed visit by OFSTED) and to help identify and solve underlying challenges. As a managed service, we are required not only to provide teams of social workers populated by capable, skilled and experienced people, but also to deliver against a set of outputs defined by the authority, which mirror their own KPIs and priorities.
Our social workers are all fully vetted with at least 4 year’s post qualifying experience in children’s services. All social workers and team managers are interviewed by a member of our senior management team prior to being offered a contract.
When you partner with us we offer a bespoke service to clients built around a system that replicates best practice in managing and supporting social workers to allow them the time to focus on undertaking holistic assessments with families that lead to focussed workplans .The plans are regularly reviewed to ensure progress is being made and that the young person remains at the centre of everything that is done and every decision that is made.
The team is supported by project co-ordinators based in Manchester who support the teams in terms of administration and quality assurance so that the social workers can be freed up to spend more time with young people and their families. Additionally, the project co-ordinators support the managers by taking away the administrative burden to allow them to focus of quality of output, supervision, performance and quality assurance.