ALDCS has agreed a programme of core activities that all local authorities will be encouraged to take part in. It was agreed that the priorities and activities will run for both 2019 and 2020. These are:
- Developing a shared data set
- Narrative evaluation and exception reporting against 18 core indicators
- Priority Theme
- Peer challenge within a geographic cluster
- Peer Review
- Sub-regional learning activity and pan-London summit
The agreed approach to each of these activities is outlined below. These activities are also captured in the memorandum of understanding between RIA members. The extent of involvement of authorities in intervention should be agreed at a sub-regional level in recognition of the monitoring / improvement activity which will be going on in those authorities.
Developing a Shared Data Set
The RIA has agreed with the Department for Education to report on 18 indicators which will be collated and shared on a quarterly basis between London LA’s and with the DfE. These 18 indicators will be used as the measures on which LAs will undertake their narrative assessment focused on those data where the LA is significantly out of line with regional norms. This data-set will be used as the basis for peer challenge activity. The requirement on each local authority is to return the 18 indicators to the RIA data analyst at the end of each quarter.
In addition to the 18 ‘DfE indicators’ the RIA data analyst will provide an annual benchmarking report from published data (referred to as the ‘tartan rug’) supplemented by CHaT data. Part of the RIA development will be increasing the use and sophistication of comparative data to enable LA’s to better understand their own performance and to provide pan-London thematic analysis.
Narrative evaluation and exception reporting against data
Each local authority will receive a benchmarking report containing the core 18 indicators that are shared with the DfE, which will visually represent their position against other London authorities. Each authority will identify the indicators where their performance differs significantly from the London average (top or bottom 20% of any indicator) and is asked to provide a narrative account of their understanding of their position in relation to the London average. A common reporting template will be shared with LAs with the benchmarking data report.
Timeframe: the benchmarking report will be shared with all LAs in March 2019 for return of the narrative evaluation by May for analysis of pan-London themes by the RIA programme team. The benchmarking data and self-evaluation will provide the platform for peer challenge within sub-regional clusters in June 2019 (see below)
Thematic self-evaluation (against chosen priority theme)
Each local authority chooses one of the three priority themes (adolescent safeguarding, SEND or workforce) to self-evaluate against. These choices should be confirmed by mid-March for all LAs. Templates for self-evaluation for adolescent safeguarding and workforce are being developed with the named thematic DCS leads and will be circulated in March. DCS’s working on the SEND theme have agreed to use existing SEND inspection self-evaluations / post-inspection improvement plans and to share these as part of the thematic work group and to inform sub-regional learning activity. The thematic self-evaluation should be accompanied by a development / improvement plan.
Timeframe: thematic self-evaluations should be completed by May 2019 and submitted to the RIA programme manager. This will inform pan-London analysis and the work undertaken in thematic groups. Additionally the self-evaluation can be used for sub-regional learning activity as is agreed between DCS’s in each sub-region.
Peer challenge will take place in geographic clusters of three or four LAs within a sub-region. The challenge will centre on the core data-set and indicators where the LAs has provided a narrative account because their performance is exceptional. Judgements as to what constitutes ‘exceptional’ will differ depending on clustering and spread of LAs against any one indicator but top 20% or bottom 20% is provided as an indicative guide.
The peer challenge will take place over one day with between one and two hours being allotted to each LA’s challenge. DCS’s should attend supported as appropriate by relevant AD and performance colleagues. A peer challenge template will be provided to aid consistency of approach across the RIA and to enable capture of key outputs from the challenge meetings.
Timeframe: Peer challenges will take place in June with dates being agreed by DCS’s at cluster level.
Thematic work will be led by the following DCS’s:
SEND – John Johnson
Adolescent Safeguarding – Annie Hudson / Florence Kroll
Workforce – Rachael Wardell
Resources – Chris Munday
The resources work is being supported by a research project which will report in May and, following dissemination to DCS’s, will be the focus of a Lead Member event in June 2019. This work is overseen by the Resources task and finish group which includes chief executive and lead member involvement.
The three other themes will be overseen through thematic work groups chaired by the lead DCS. The terms of reference for the thematic groups are being developed but will include agreement of peer review methodology and opportunities to share learning and innovative practice in relation to the theme. It is anticipated that every local authority undertaken a self-evaluation against a theme will be represented on the working group. Authorities who have not chosen a theme may still wish to send a representative to the working group.
The DCS lead for each of the themes will also be responsible for agreeing the self-evaluation template and key data-set in relation to their priority theme.
Timeframe: Lead DCS’s should establish their thematic groups and agree a first meeting date between April-June 2019. Frequency of meetings will be determined by the lead DCS and their group.
Four peer reviews will be undertaken in London between June and October 2019. Each sub-region should identify an authority to be reviewed and a theme. Each local authority should identify one representative to support a peer review. Methodology for the peer reviews will be agreed by the thematic groups. Peer reviewers will receive training and the reviews will be supported by the RIA programme office.
Timeframe: methodology for the peer reviews to be agreed with sign-off by thematic lead by June 2019. Training to be provided to peer reviewers by June 2019. Peer reviews to be undertaken between June – October 2019.
Sub-Regional Learning Activity and Pan-London Summit
Sub-regional leads are:
South London – Jacky Tiotto
East London – Tim Aldridge
West London – Steve Miley
North / Central – Martin Pratt
Within sub-regions DCSs will determine the frequency and nature of meetings with an expectation that there will be planned meetings of DCS’s and that there will be at least one sub-regional learning event, with attendance from DCS, and relevant assistant directors and heads of service. Each of the sub-regions will develop its own plans for how work will be taken forward between local authorities. Work across the sub-regions will be brought together in a pan-London summit in November 2019. Directors, Chief Executives and Lead Members will be invited to the summit.
The RIA currently has a programme manager and data analyst who will support the development of the infrastructure and resources to deliver improvement activity. This will include the collation and dissemination of the shared data-set and the resources required to undertake peer review and challenge. Discussions are underway with the DfE to promote further investment in the RIA and enhance the capacity to deliver the programme.
At the meeting of 28th Feb it was agreed that the RIA programme capacity should be augmented to provide greater sub-regional support for improvement activity. To this end it was agreed that each LA would contribute £5k pa to establish posts to support the programme delivery at a sub-regional level. It was also agreed that a dedicated London RIA website is a developmental priority.