On Friday 18 May, some of the leading experts and senior leaders in the children and families subject area met for the first time as the Challenge Panel for our second targeted venture cycle focusing on Children and Families.
This is a key issue for local authorities in the capital. A £2 billion funding gap in Children’s Services is projected by 2020 and as of 31 March 2017, 90 children are coming into care every day. Figures from London Councils show that in 2015/16, three quarters of English councils surpassed their Children’s Social Care budgets by a combined £605m – more than a 7% overspend.
The challenge panel is a new addition to Targeted Ventures, bringing together cross-sector subject matter experts to share knowledge and best practice, as well as to provide objective challenge to our work. The forum aims to stretch our ambition, provide insight into the sector, and ensure collaboration between cross-sector bodies.
There was a good turnout at our first session including representatives from:
- Local government
- the Local Government Association (LGA)
- LB Merton
- LB Hounslow
- LB Redbridge
- LB Ealing
- LB Camden
- The third sector
- Catch 22
- Private sector
The aim of the session was to introduce participants to the London Ventures team, programme and fellow challenge panel members, and to provide their thoughts to our initial findings. The first activity gave the opportunity for the panel to discuss the problem areas identified by London Ventures in detail, drawing on the expertise in the room to validate our initial thoughts and provide challenge where necessary. It was great to see how different ideas developed during the discussion and how the participants provided both insight and real life examples of some the issues facing young people and families.
The second session allowed the group to dive into the problem areas in more detail, pulling out the key challenges within each. The breadth of experience and knowledge in the room produced a number of areas for consideration. It also built our understanding of the work that currently is/isn’t taking place in the sector. It also helped us rethink how we approach the subject and how interlaced some of the initial challenges were in reality.
Our next step is to use the feedback from the sessions to produce a number of problem statements for further testing by the challenge panel at our second session on 15 June. These problem statements will then be used at our solution hackathon on 21 June.
The hackathon is an intensive, wide-ranging discussion with a diverse group of private and public sector organisations, including Boroughs, charities, innovators and funders. The aim of the event is to identify innovative ideas and solutions that could improve outcomes for children and young people in London. The programme will then want to work with London boroughs to bring a selection of these ideas to life.