Keeping Devon’s children safe – February-March 2016 update

Key management messages

Dear colleague

Good news – DCC has received a letter from Minister Edward Timpson informing us that the Department for Education has lifted the intervention notice and is ending formal intervention arrangements in Devon. We will shortly write to you with more detail about the letter and what this means for our continued work to improve things for children in Devon, but for now we wanted to share this good news with you and thank all of you for your hard work in making this happen.

And, we are pleased to announce that, following a recruitment process, the new interim Head of Children’s Social Work has been appointed.

Jo Olsson, who has most recently been working as interim Director of Children’s Services for the States of Jersey, will be joining Devon County Council on 14 March, to commence a four-week handover period with Fiona Fitzpatrick.

We are delighted to welcome Jo, who brings with her a wealth of experience including leading Peer Reviews and supporting local authorities in their improvement journeys.

Jo Olsson

Jo has asked us to pass on this personal message to you all.

We know that you will join us in welcoming Jo, and in thanking Fiona for her commitment to Children’s Social Work in Devon over the past two years, particularly leading the service through last year’s Ofsted inspection. We wish Fiona all the best for the future.


Article 12 painting in the office of. Jennie Stephens

A picture paints a thousand words

Celebrating the rights of the child

On the 27 January 2016, a group of seven young people came together with Jennie Stephens and Cllr James McInnes to celebrate the right of children and young people to express their views and have a say in matters that affect them. The occasion for the celebration was that a beautiful painting, which represents this principle, has been hung behind Jennie’s desk.

Jennie and James used the event as a good opportunity to hear from the young people. Unsurprisingly, they had a lot to say and Jennie and James would like to share these important messages from the young people with you.

See the artwork and find out what the young people told us.

New Belongings Project

The aim is for us, as a local authority, is to improve our services for care leavers by applying the experience and expertise of care leavers themselves to drive change to ensure their specific needs are met.  Our main objectives are

  • to embed the principles of the Care Leavers’ Charter
  • to join up services to care leavers in order to improve their outcomes, and
  • to bring in the energy of local communities to support care leavers.

In February, a team from New Belongings visited Devon to assess our progress.  In doing so,  they worked closely with care leavers, senior managers, managers in Permanence and Transition Teams and the Participation Team.  They were impressed with our progress and Liz Lydon , the project lead, made the following observation:

“You have done so well. The way you have embraced the care leaver apprentices  and interns into your overall service is inspiring.”  Find out more.

Event with Beth and Sam

Taking it to the next level – success at National Children’s Bureau celebratory event

Last month, Beth Wakefield and Sam Heaton from our Participation Team showcased Devon’s Corporate Parents and Children in Care Councils at the ‘Taking it to the Next Level’ Celebratory Event in London.

At the national event, Beth and Sam presented the journey of children and young people’s involvement in Devon, and our commitment to meaningful participation. Beth and Sam tell us: “What’s new is that we don’t only tick boxes, or as we say, look shiny on the surface. We want to give something back and make a difference, not just get the job done.” Find out more.

Virtual School for Children in Care update

Devon’s Virtual School for Children in Care is now producing their own half-termly newsletter.  And this term there are several events in March; the taster day at Exeter University, and our Children in Care Celebration Event on 18 March.

Find out more and where  you can nominate.


Children, Young People and Families’ Alliance update

What it is? Who is part of it? And how you can engage with it?

Are you up to speed with the development of the Children’s Alliance? Are you promoting involvement for the children you are working with so that they can have their say about issues that affect children in Devon?

The Children, Young People and Families’ Alliance has been established and is now up and running thanks to the joint efforts and hard work of those involved in making this happen.  The priority outcomes include:

  • Joint Commissioning
  •  Early Help
  • Children with Disabilities Board
  • Communications group

Find out what are we doing differently because of the Alliance.

And, if you missed the last update, find out more here.

Children Centres update – intention and timescales

Since the procurement of a new service in North Devon and Torridge (May 2015) and South and West Devon (April 2016) the Public Health Nursing Service is due to transfer from NHS England into the local authority in October 2016. This now gives us the opportunity to reflect on current contracts and look at the potential opportunities it may give to develop a joint commissioning specification, which could provide a seamless Early Help and Prevention Service.

Health Visiting Services for Devon Residents

As you will be aware, commissioning responsibility for Health Visiting Services transferred from NHS England to local authorities from 1st October 2015.

Nationally, one of the implications of this change is that local authorities will be funded to commission Health Visiting Services for local residents based on where they live, rather than where they are registered with GPs, as was previously the case.

February-March 2016

Important updates


Have you taken part in the prevent agenda training yet?

We are providing mandatory training on the prevent agenda and all staff within children’s social work and child protection are required to attend. We have organised the delivery of sessions over one day  in each of the service geographical areas, with each session taking approx. one hour.

We are offering the workshops as part of Home Office programme. The aim is to prevent vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism.

Child abuse campaign

Child abuse campaign

Together, we can tackle child abuse. This is one of a number of key messages that Devon County Council will be sharing in support of a national Department for Education campaign to raise awareness of child abuse and encourage more reporting from the general public. Find out more.

We are encouraging anyone worried about a child or suspecting child abuse or neglect, to visit

Resources and Publications



Launch of Tri-X South West Procedures Online

We are very pleased to announce the re-launch of the South-West Child Protection procedures online.

Find out more within the Devon Safeguarding Children Board update

And don’t forget you can sign up to receive tri.x newsletters like this one. In their latest issue briefings include:


HCPC revised Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

This special edition of Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC) ‘In Focus’ takes an in depth look at their revised Standards of conduct, performance and ethics, which were published on 26 January 2016.

What are the main changes?

Staff Directory

Staff Directory

The contacts list for ‘Babcock – LDP Learning Development Partnership’ has now been updated. Find out more

Learning Curve

Learning Curve update

In the latest edition, find out about three new and improved courses from our Performance Development Team including:

  • Having difficult conversations and making them work
  • Interview Skills Workshop, with careers advice
  • Influencing skills.

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