Implementation Week 2022: The UK-IS Debate


As part of Implementation Week 2022, members of the Society along with an invited panel and guests gathered the for UK-IS Debate. The focus of this year's debate was The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and implementation challenges.


The debate was chaired by Dr Tom Jefford, UKIS interim Chair and Director of Family Psychology Mutual, and the panel included:

  • Cathy James, from the National Implementation Network and the lead for the UK Multi Systemic Therapy network.

  • Steve Walker, ex-Director of Children’s Services in Leeds and a Trustee of the What Works in Children’s Social Care Centre.

  • Annette Boaz, Transforming Evidence and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


The implementation debate considered the many challenges for the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care.


Whilst this in indeed a once in a generation opportunity for reform, the uncertainties of the current political climate, the long term investment required and the contextual place of both society post Covid recovery make this a tall order.


Leadership and stability appear essential pre-requisites for successful implementation to take place and both can be in short supply. Structural changes and new arrangements might be the easier tasks compared to achieving the long term cultural change that really promotes the welfare and support of all children and in particular those with higher risks and vulnerabilities.


It was acknowledged that we need to learn from the past experiences of investment, change and reform so that mistakes and wasted opportunities are not repeated.


Discussion identified the practice changes and skills which might be needed in front line work and how seeing families as a unit of change first can build on strengths and enable children to succeed. The acceleration of the number of children being placed in care may be a reflection of how services are configured and where specialism is placed in the service offer.


Of note in the Review was a chapter on implementation and a timeline. Putting lived experience into the implementation bodies which may be created was seen as holding exciting potential.


Hosted/summarised by Tom Jefford


© UK Implementation Society, 2022

All views expressed are the author's own and not those of the UK Implementation Society.




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