Agencia logo

North East Improvement and Efficiency Partnership

Agencia has completed three projects on behalf of the North East Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (NEIEP). NEIEP is one of 9 Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs) in England and was made up of all 12 North East councils and 4 Fire and Rescue authorities.

Contact centre services for children

Agencia worked across the 12 Local Authorities to consult on, and deliver collaborative arrangements between Local Authorities to support all directed contact for children, as determined by the Courts.  This work was at the interface of the social care and justice sectors and involved delivering a baseline statement of arrangements that currently existed, undertaking an options appraisal of service delivery models and a feasibility study of the collaborative regional service delivery model.

The provision of contact services for children and their families involves an emotive and sensitive issue.  The Agencia team sought to be mindful of this throughout the consultation process when engaging with children, young people, and staff.  Our methodology included a large desk-based review, visits to contact centres to interview children, families and staff and facilitation of regional workshop for staff including social workers and contact officers.

Personalisation of dementia services

Agencia worked with the Department of Health and NEIEP across the 12 North East Local Authorities, and their NHS partners, to evaluate and advise on the further development of the personalisation of care services for people suffering with dementia.  This work was in line with Objective 6 of the National Dementia Strategy.

Key components of the work involved evaluating existing service provision and developing a comprehensive evidence base for effective commissioning and supporting the implementation of Personalisation changes, which are fully inclusive of people with dementia and their carers.

Recruitment and retention of social workers

There was a significant issue facing all councils in the North East in relation to the recruitment and retention of social workers. Due to these difficulties, local authority children’s services were heavily reliant on expensive agency staff to fulfil their needs with regard to the provision of social work staff. As local authorities faced increasing pressure on budgets, it was essential that new, more efficient ways of working were developed to address this issue. This project sought to examine the feasibility of collaborative arrangements to address two significant regional issues relating to social work, namely:

  • Reviewing arrangements for ‘growing your own’ pool of social workers within the North East, including the arrangements for the progression of newly qualified staff in the first year of practice;
  • Developing options for collaborative arrangements for a new approach in the provision of temporary social workers.

The project concluded that there was strong support for a North East wide organisation to be established which would employ and provide temporary social workers across the region. This was seen as a natural next step following the collaborative work which had already taken place to cap agency rates and would ensure value for money as well as driving up standards.