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Alternative delivery models in children's services

The Department for Education has published its second round report on its Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, and IPC has been heavily involved in the evaluation of the scheme.


In Cornwall, IPC evaluated Cornwall’s Making Integration Happen project. This was designed to explore the potential of an Alternative Delivery Model (ADM) to achieve its strategic goal for greater integration of health, social care and education services. The evaluation reports on this process of decision making. Key observations of the report include:

  • Highlighting that ‘after careful consideration the ADM was rejected as a governance vehicle but more integrated services were introduced under a new ‘Together for Families’ Directorate within the Council, which included staff transferred from the NHS’.
  • It notes greater service integration has been achieved ‘so far without many of the negative consequences that are often associated with major changes in services’, and emphasises that ‘even just considering an ADM as a vehicle for governing a large and complex set of professions and services for children and families was experienced as a time-consuming and complicated task for partners in this project’, which took up significant resources.
  • The report concludes that the governance vehicle of a partnership is less influential, at least on staff perceptions of the partnership, than addressing operational issues such as staffing levels and information sharing.

The North of Tyne Collaboration project aimed to explore possibilities for greater collaboration between the 3 neighbouring local authorities in the area, including options for an Alternative Delivery Model (ADM), and create a shared business plan for implementation.

A report was prepared for the Programme Board in 2018, which considered 4 delivery mechanism options including shared services, a contracted delivery authority, a local authority trading body, and a charitable body.

The final report recommended that:

  • ‘It was not appropriate to explore an ADM at that point’. ADM options were viewed by partners as requiring a significant amount of organisational and governance redesign, which could risk the ‘steady progress’ needed in each area to improve services and outcomes.
  • This was not considered appropriate given a situation characterised by ‘contextual political changes, multi-authority collaborations, and improvement rather than transformative change’.
  • A business plan for improving collaboration while retaining more traditional governance structures was agreed by the local authorities in 2019.

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