Partners in Practice

Partners in Practice: Sector-led improvement

In 2018, Cheshire West and Chester were successful in their bid to become a Partner in Practice (PiP), as part of the wave 2 grant funding from the Department of Education (DfE).

The DfE is working with some of the best leaders and practitioners in children’s social care in the country through the Partners in Practice programme in order to:

  • Demonstrate what works and drive innovation to build understanding of the conditions needed for excellent practice to flourish.
  • Drive sector-led improvement through peer support to authorities who need to improve.

This programme aims to be a genuine partnership between local and central government in order to support wider improvement across the children’s social care system through understanding and sharing what works in improving outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.

Cheshire West and Chester Council are providing packages of sector-led support to local authorities who require support to improve for the duration of 2019-20.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s approach to supporting other local authorities is to enable and assist them to progress more effectively on their journey of improvement. This means that partner local authorities are at the centre of decision making about the support that would be most valuable to them and will have the biggest impact on their improvement journey.

This approach also ensures that local authorities can maintain and sustain change when the support from the Partners in Practice Programme ends. This also ensures that the delivery of support is tailored to the needs of the partner local authority and has full commitment of managers in the services involved. Evaluation and outcome measurement is built into the programme to ensure that the support is making a lasting difference to services for children, young people and families.

As examples, the range of support that is being provided to partner local authorities is below:

  • Peer review, diagnostics or audits on a specific theme, service, team, cases, or for children’s social care as a whole;
  • Service specific expertise, sharing of models, good practice and learning, or a critical friend role on a range of themes such as edge of care, leadership and management, workforce development, supervision and management oversight, fostering, residential care;
  • Data and performance analysis, guidance or development;
  • Quality assurance processes, practices and evidence;
  • Delivery of thematic or specific workshops, co-delivery of training events, facilitating working groups;
  • Development of strategy and plans in partnership;
  • Engagement and feedback events and activities with staff and service users;
  • Review of policies and procedures;
  • Visits to Cheshire West and Chester to meet with specific teams, managers or services, including observations of service delivery.

Specialisms based on strengths within Cheshire West and Chester Children’s Services that have been recognised by Ofsted in the inspections of 2015 and 2019 include: leadership and management; insight and intelligence; workforce development.

For more information on sector-led support, please contact

Please contact: Emma Meekin, Programme Manager – Sector Led Improvement, Partners in Practice on emma.meekin@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or 07973 470022.

For more information on the DfE Partners in Practice Programme, please visit: https://innovationcsc.co.uk/partners-in-practice/