What is Sector Led Improvement and who’s involved?

Sector Led Improvement involves improving both the quality and delivery of children’s services across the sector, by focusing on staff and service development. All of the children’s services in our region are working together to achieve this.


Why is this needed?

There is a strong consensus amongst children’s services that outcomes for children, young people and their families need to be improved, and that this is achieved by working together by sharing learnings and developing best practice.

In 2013, The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), in line with their leadership and commitment to continuously strengthening collaborative approaches to improve the children’s services sector, made a commitment to deliver a joint way of working for Sector Led Improvement.


How is it being achieved in Yorkshire and Humber?

All 15 local authorities are committed to the principles underpinning Sector Led Improvement. It is recognised that there is a need:

  • To move away from compliance and towards a learning culture;
  • To acknowledge that reflective practice plays an important part;
  • For honest and frank self-reflection and self-assessment;
  • For a willingness to provide evidence based challenges towards peers across the sector;
  • To have an open environment to challenge peers; and
  • To acknowledge that improvement is continuous.

As a sector, a range of activities will be undertaken to ensure Sector Led Improvement is as effective as can be. These are just some of the main activities:

  • Co-construct an annual regional work plan for sector led improvement which aims to describe the sector’s aspirations for continuously improving services for children and the activities we will undertake in the coming year to support those aspirations.
  • Adopt a regional approach to an annual self-assessment exercise. This enable local and regional strengths and areas for development to be identified and inform the annual regional work plan.
  • Carry out ‘peer challenges’, where peers from across the region are invited into a local authority to act as ‘critical friend’ in relation to identified aspects of children’s services activities. This involves an assessment and feedback on current achievements and areas for development with recommendations on how further improvements can be made.
  • Provide leadership programmes that aim to develop future leaders of services for children and young people.


What impact is this making on our children’s services?

  • Over 300 middle and senior managers have taken part in regional leadership programmes. Both internal and external evaluation tells us it is making a difference – managers are more motivated, more connected with their colleagues and are seen by themselves and their own managers as being more effective in their role.
  • External evaluation of peer challenges is indicating a real value for both the local authority (by helping them focus on areas for development), and the providers (by developing skills of challenge and taking practice and ideas back to their own organisations).
  • A leadership development programme for 280 front line social workers in 2013 was seen by participants as motivational and inspirational.


Where can I find out more?

Check out the regional ADCS leadership website.