Meeting with Staffordshire MPs, and continuing the success of Building Resilient Families and Communities

We had our quarterly meeting with Staffordshire’s MPs this week in Portcullis House in Westminster. This is our opportunity to tell them what we’re doing, and for them to tell us what is happening in the heart of Government. It is always an interesting session, with Philip Atkins, Alan White and me making up the Staffordshire County Council Team.  On this occasion, five of our 9 MPs attended in person, with the rest represented by their staff.

Not perhaps surprisingly, the conversation  turned to our Financial Strategy and the decision to raise council tax by 5.95%. Although nobody likes to raise taxes, as it’s never popular, there was universal agreement that it was the right thing to do in order to provide the services that we deliver for the most vulnerable in our society.  There remains some debate in Parliament on whether the Autumn Statement will be amended, and we will be watching it with interest to see if there is any more money for children’s services or adult social care.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, we’ve reached the logical end of our current method of meeting our MTFS, and will need a different approach to salami slicing if we are to achieve the full potential of digital initiatives and programmes such as the Children’s System, which will pull together several workstreams into one.

On that subject, we are working towards something called Earned Autonomy with our Building Resilient Families and Communities programme, and have a key set of interviews coming up. In essence, the Government’s Troubled Families programme, which has been widely criticised in the media, has been a roaring success in Staffordshire, simply because we’ve put in enormous effort and thought. The Children’s System will essentially take the learning from BRFC and apply it across the county, intervening intensively with those families who have multiple issues early enough to prevent them from spiralling into difficulty.

We think that we’ve got a good story to tell, and I hope that our London friends agree.

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