Transformation and reviews

Our subject matter expertise is recognised and we are engaged to support whole service transformation


As a Strategic Partner for Hillingdon, we supported them on developing capacity and capability to deliver improvements; coaching their internal staff to learn improvement skills and providing them with subject matter experts as and when necessary to transformation whole services.

We worked across the whole of the Children’s Services Pathway from Children’s Centres, Early Help, Educational Psychologists to MASH and LAC teams supporting Hillingdon to understand how they could change to focus on prevention and support at home rather than care.

One key change we supported them to design and deliver focused on applying adoption reforms to make best use of adoption reform grant.

Following engagement workshops with front-line social workers and managers, we adopted a prototype approach to design and test new ways of working in a controlled environment before being implemented across the service. Using this method, we developed more self-managing teams that allowed social workers and team managers to take responsibility for designing and improving practice. How they work with other teams and partners involved in the adoption journey was key to ensuring a smooth journey.

We coached and supported the teams through activities that document a child’s journey from admission to placement for adoption, challenging their perceptions and assumptions so they were able to identify what was best for the child. Introducing collaborative working practices between social workers and legal teams to speed up legal proceedings; and with voluntary adoption agencies to implement concurrent planning. Supported by newly designed effective management tools for identifying delays and allowing for early decision making, these were designed by team managers and social workers, so all involved understood what was being measured, why and how it helped them all improve.

The OFSTED report following our work identified a reduction in time between a child becoming looked after and being placed for adoption by 123 days.

SEND projects from both start of process at diagnosis and then as they prepared for adulthood.



We reviewed Cambridgeshire County Council’s innovative two-year partnership with Coram, a voluntary adoption agency, which involved engaging with over 60 stakeholders to scrutinise performance outcomes against expectations, key strengths of the partnership and areas for improvement. Following this review, the two organisations have now set up the pioneering Coram Cambridgeshire Adoption agency.

According to Ofsted inspections, the council had been providing a good adoption service with some outstanding features. However, the council was aware that the service was insufficiently child focused with deficits in early permanence planning and variable quality in practice, some of it poor. There was also some astute horizon scanning in recognising early the new government’s criticism of local authority adoption services.

After completing a systematic review of the qualitative data available against the original SLA, the action plan, and the adoption scorecard, we focused our review of the operation of the partnership by focusing on capturing internal views from Cambridgeshire and external views from Coram and other partners. Our approach was to ascertain expectations at the outset, understand stakeholders’ experience of the partnership, look at performance against initial expectations and in turn consider future options.