London Borough of Hillingdon

The results

We have successfully managed the LBH Referral and Assessment Service under this innovative new model for 17 months, delivering improved efficiency in the short-term, as well as creating a solid framework for continuous improvement.

During this period, our five social work teams have managed referrals involving 2033 families and 4011 children, with an average case duration of 24 working days. In total, 3916 child assessments have been completed with an average assessment timescale of 19 working days. 99% of assessments have been assessed within statutory timescales specified in the service level agreement.

Of the cases assessed, 22.3% have been referred directly to the LBH Children in Need service and 12.3% have progressed to Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC). In 1.3% of cases, children have become Looked After and in 7.6% of cases the ‘Step Down’ process has been implemented.

Our teams have also provided valuable input to help improve multi-agency partnership working by contributing to a number of forums involving education specialists, consultant paediatricians and police.

Project Highlights

  • London Borough of Hillingdon
  • November 2014 to June 2016
  • Skylakes has completed 3916 assessments over 17 months
  • Average assessment duration of 19 working days
  • 99% of assessments completed in agreed timescales

The challenge

London Borough of Hillingdon’s (LBH) children’s social care team needed a trusted partner to work with to improve the efficiency of its safeguarding services for vulnerable children and young people in need or at risk of or suffering from significant harm. Skylakes was briefed to provide a fully outsourced Referral and Assessment Service (RAS) to temporarily replace the LBH in-house team. This provided LBH with the capacity to redesign services to improve efficiency and provide timely responses to identified cases of need.

Having gained valuable experience working closely with the LBH children’s teams for a trial period, Skylakes was well-placed to design and implement a new project model, focusing exclusively on the referral and assessment service.

Our approach

The project, which began in November 2014, was carefully structured using five Skylakes social work teams. Each team included highly experienced consultant practitioners, team managers and project support officers, with the whole project coordinated by an in-house Skylakes Service Manager.

Working closely with the LBH senior management team, we designed and implemented a new model of delivery for the RAS. This included a robust framework to help deliver service transformation and minimise the risk of delays in identifying and responding to child safeguarding issues. We also provide continuous assessment and regular reporting on performance, process and the overall success of the new service structure, including attending weekly review meetings at the LBH offices.

The key objective for the Skylakes teams is to interface with triage and the Hillingdon Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) to allocate and progress all referrals into LBH through to clearly identified points of transfer or closure. To complete the allocated caseload before returning to duty again, the teams work on a rolling duty rota. One week they are based on site in the LBH social care office, and for four weeks they work remotely.