Evaluation of the Early adopter Sector-led Improvement Programme Pilots

Claire Easton, Robert Smith, Helen Poet, Helen Aston

06 February 2012

Executive Summary

In a drive to improve support to local authorities (LAs) and enhance performance the Department for Education (DfE) and the Children's Services sector agreed a new system of support. The Children's Improvement Board (CIB) was created to lead the strategic direction and development for sector-led improvement and support in children’s services. To date, its work has focused on the development of the 'early adopter programme'.

This report captures LAs' perceptions on the early adopter programme and sector-led improvement and support more widely.

The report findings will be of relevance to CIB, the LGA and the sector in their work.

Key Findings

  • the sector having ownership and responsibility for its own development and the opportunity to share best practice with others
  • the supportive, but challenging and action-focused ethos of the programme
  • having practicing peer experts to explore and feedback on current practice
  • the opportunity for reciprocal learning between colleagues offering and receiving peer challenge
  • the programme’s ability to address the needs of LAs with different levels of performance.

The evaluation highlighted the following challenges or areas for development:

  • the time and availability of colleagues to gift time to offer challenge to another LA
  • securing funding for the programme in the future
  • engaging and getting buy in from those at the top of LAs (corporate services) through to front line practitioners, especially lead members and service leaders
  • engaging the whole sector in the programme, so that it has total credibility and becomes embedded in practice
  • clarifying the distinctions between the different sector-led support programmes available to LAs.
Read the report Read the article