Background and Challenges
In 2016 a North West Council launched a project to design and implement a new Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) in line with the Department for Education’s (DfE) agenda to regionalise adoption services for looked after children. The project was to consolidate the adoption services of six local authorities located across the North West England and work in partnership with two voluntary agencies to establish a new, combined and improved partnership service.
The key challenges were:
- Developing shared ways of working between multiple, cross-sector organisations (six local authorities and two voluntary sector agencies).
- Managing relationships and expectations between the project board of local authority Directors and the DfE.
- Developing the fundamental legal, HR, financial and operating model for the RAA, including developing a legal agreement, information sharing agreement and a secondment agreement for staff to formally set up the new shared service.
- Implementing a new partnership service in six months, ensuring the right infrastructure was in place to enable the new service to go-live, including accommodation, staffing, ICT systems and back office support.
- Combined, these authorities placed more children for adoption across the North West than any other agency, with some of these local authorities performing amongst the best in the country for adoption services, so we had to maintain a focus on improving practice.
Trueman Change Involvement
Trueman Change provided change and project management services from inception to go-live of the new RAA. We lead a multidisciplinary project team made up of subject matter experts in social care to design and fully implement the new shared service. We engaged staff and partners across all organisations to gather views, forge lasting links between them and design new, shared, improved practices.
Once the service was designed, we put the right foundation in place to enable the RAA to go-live. This included accommodation, staffing, financial and legal agreements, branding, and ICT. We did this through genuine consultation with staff and service users, creating a unique identity for the new organisation and improving the current level of service.
Outcomes and Solutions
- The RAA was one of the first in the country to go-live, on time and in budget.
- Staff and stakeholders well engaged throughout which ensured smooth go-live and enthused workforce in place from day one.
- Strengthened partnership working across six local authorities and cross-sector with voluntary agencies, forming new working arrangements to benefit children that had never been in place before.
- Skilled up multi-disciplinary project team members in change and project management techniques.