Authorities typically have large amounts of raw data about their children’s social care services, which can be tapped to provide evidence and insights to support decision-makers in making the best possible use of their available budgets. However, it’s not always obvious to practitioners how that data could be put to work, and that data is not always immediately user-friendly.
We believe that there is a significant opportunity to use computer simulations for children’s social care, as we have already done for Special Educational Needs (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP), in order to inform and support service leaders’ transformation thinking and their responses to budget pressures.
We are currently developing a simulation model which will use historic social care data, combined with information about the current processes in an individual local authority, to generate projections of demand for the different types of children’s social care support, from referral through to children in care, and explore how this demand is likely to change if the service and processes are redesigned.
Projections will include both expected client numbers, staffing needs, and costs of provision, to enable accurate planning and good decisions around transformation ideas. The model will provide an evidence-based, independent view on the future that can be trusted by all stakeholders, and will also enable them to explore the impact of different policy changes on demand and cost, so that future possibilities can be compared.
The model will support more intelligent staffing and commissioning, budget setting, and discussions around overall strategy and resource allocation; for example, how many foster carers are needed in the next five years; or what volume of referrals a new multi-agency team should anticipate handling.
We also support interactive workshops with stakeholders (e.g. the local authority, health, and care providers) to enable an informed discussion and effective planning for the future.
Please get in touch if you would like to be an early user of this new tool.