Cambridgeshire has been chosen as a pilot authority by the Department for Education (DfE) for its innovative work in children's services.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced that Cambridgeshire "“ as one of the country's best-performing local authorities - would work with the DfE on new freedoms that would support social work practice and ultimately secure better outcomes for families.

The County Council will be part of the DfE's Partners in Practice Innovation Programme, which aims to redefine what children's services departments should look like.

The Education Secretary said: "We are committed to ensuring that the very best leaders and practitioners are given the freedom to push boundaries; that outdated regulations, laws, guidance and processes do not stand in the way of the best local leaders innovating in the best interests of children and families."

The Children's Minister, Edward Timpson announced the Children's Social Care Innovation Programme in October 2013. Since then the DfE has been assessing the opportunities for innovation in children's social care, analysing the barriers to innovation.

The programme seeks to inspire whole system change so that in five years, it will achieve better life chances for children receiving help from social care; better value for money across children's social care and stronger incentives for innovation and experimentation.

Six partner authorities were chosen in December, with three more "“ Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Islington "“ added recently. The focus in Cambridgeshire will be the Council's work to prevent children needing to become looked after by the local authority through exploring how risks can be better managed and regulations and processes that inhibit a flexible response to a family's needs can be removed.

Councillor Joan Whitehead, Chairwoman of the County Council's Children and Young People's Committee said: "This is a great accolade for Cambridgeshire, which reaffirms our position as one of the best-performing authorities for children's services in the country. It will enable us to develop further the innovative and exciting work we are already doing to transform social work, and to share that best practice with other local authorities for the benefit of vulnerable young people across the country."


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