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As Local As Possible And As Specialist As Necessary – Rethinking High Level Social Care Needs Provision

As local as possible and as specialist as necessary – rethinking high level social care needs provision

This document considers a reconfiguration possible with a recognition and realisation of high level needs as a conceptual framework in social care placements.

It re-configures the recent DfE publication regarding SEND, ‘Sustainable high needs systems’, and identifies lessons for social care and especially RCC.

Sustainable high needs systems: learning from the ‘safety valve’ intervention programme – GOV.UK (



  • The concept of high level needs should be adopted by social care
  • Recognition of the full range of needs is required
  • Children are not units, nor are children’s homes ‘units’.
  • Sustainable and effective high needs systems in social care should be a priority of local authority leadership.
  • Goals of a sustainable high needs system
  • In contrast to deficit reduction in social care the focus is on needs analysis, assessment, planning provision, so that every child has the most appropriate placement.
  • It is getting the right placement first time that is effective and efficient.
  • Serial placements and hierarchical use of placements as now is ineffective and inefficient.
  • There needs to be recognition that local authorities have now too long not been providers for high level needs and the expertise is within the provider sector.
  • Establishing regional shared values, shared vision.
  • As the Loughborough cost calculator work shows it is not an efficient or effective for a child to move many times
  • The most effective and efficient use of high level needs provision comes when knowing it is getting the right placement first time that is effective and efficient.
  • The use of early intervention is not a diversion or substitute for high level needs provision.
  • The origin of high level needs are often dissimilar to those for early intervention occurring more suddenly and later in childhood.
  • It is both that need dedicated funding.
  • It is planning not markets that delivers efficient, sustainable and appropriate meeting of need.
  • Achieving the goals
  • Early intervention focus
  • Increased Edge of Care/Children in Need services
  • Review assessment processes and thresholds
  • Culture change and work with leaders
  • All parties are connected in relational rather than transactional working.
  • Appropriate and thorough provision mapping, with potential development of more local provision
  • Lack of or inappropriate matching accounts for a proportion of costs.
  • It is vital there is mapping of local, regional and national provision.
  • This should not be set by the local authority but a specification developed together. Co-think, co-create and then co-produce.
  • This takes time. Changing an established pattern of provision is a long-term process rather than a rapid change, given the importance of continuity for children and young people.

 Please click link below to download the report:
NCERCC As local as possible and as specialist as necessary reconfiguring, recognising realising high level social care needs conceptual framework