Review of the South East Sector Led Improvement Programme's Peer Challenge Programme

Richard White, Shona Macleod, Fiona Walker

18 June 2015

The review aimed to provide a qualitative narrative of the Peer Challenge Programme for SESLIP and explored the: motivations for, and benefits of, local authorities’ involvement; the programme’s effective aspects; the impact of participation in the Programme; and potential aspects for improvement.

Key Findings

Motivations for involvement as a host (receiving a peer challenge) included the opportunity to: benefit from expert external input into a specific issue requiring improvement; develop the general culture and practice of improvement; and provide external validation of improvement approaches. As a visitor (a member of the team visiting another local authority to conduct a peer challenge), local authorities’ motivations included the opportunity to: facilitate professional development; and acquire knowledge and experience.

Benefits of involvement for host local authorities included: the chance to be involved in independent, but relevant, scrutiny; receiving valuable external perspectives from an appropriately skilled and experienced team; the support for reflective practice opportunities; and developing new links with similar professionals in other local authorities. As a visitor, local authorities benefited from personal and professional opportunities and experiences.

Effective elements included the: participants’ characteristics and composition; availability of multiple local authorities’ perspectives; clear pre-visit communication between DCSs; clarity and focus of the challenge’s parameters; time invested in preparing for and conducting a challenge; and the feedback and follow up activities.

Impact of participation included local authorities’ use of the outcomes of the Peer Challenge Programme to: strengthen the basis for, or corroborate, planned decisions in relation to their improvement journeys; and redesign elements of the systems or services provided to children and young people.