At the Leadership Forum on Monday, April 29th, Robert Naylor, Director of Children’s Services, talked about the role his Service will play in transforming the Council:
Children’s Services will become more integrated and efficient over the next five years. This means we will look closely at the services we provide and will challenge decisions and costs to ensure the best possible outcomes for our young people and their families.
Like many other traditional councils, we previously identified a need within a family and offered access to one or two services and said this is what we will give you to overcome the challenges you face. Now, we will start with one simple question – “what will it take?”. We will ask this directly to the families we support, interacting and engaging with them so we can develop bespoke packages of assistance to address their specific needs.
It could be that a child isn’t attending school. They’re getting into trouble with the police and their outcomes aren’t looking good. By actually listening to the family and asking them what they think might help, we can identify the real root of a problem. It might not be school. It could be their housing situation or money is tight because they don’t know what benefits they are entitled to.
That is why I aspire for everyone in Children’s Services to develop strong relationships with all their council colleagues as this will help us provide the right support to families, helping them overcome hurdles and maximising the potential of all our children.
We are now adopting this same analytical approach to look at how we deliver and organise secondary and primary school education and the support we provide to pupils to ensure all achieve.
For secondary, we will question whether or not the existing Victorian model of schooling best serves our children, particularly those moving into the senior phase. Many will go on to university where most of their learning will take place online and if they do attend a lecture it will be with up to 250 others. Could we ensure a smoother transition if we increased the number of subjects offered fully or partly online?
For primary, we want to look at how we organise our schools, how they are managed, how support is offered, and ask ourselves if other disciplines and professional groupings could make a contribution to key areas to secure better outcomes.
We are on the cusp of something truly transformational. It won’t be easy, but new Council of the Future governance aligned to the five workstreams will help us work as one council.
By harnessing the passion and dedication of our employees – and really listening to our service users – we can make change happen.