GM Sufficiency Programme
The following collaborative projects have been agreed and are underway.
Project 1: Project Skyline (Children’s Residential Care Shared Service)
Develop, finance and structure major capital investment to create a new Greater Manchester shared children’s residential care service.
- The first stage of our ambition is to create around 10 new Homes across different service categories:
- 2 and 3 Bed Specialist Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD) Homes
- 2 bed Mental Health (MH) Complex Care Homes, with an integrated Health offer, particularly to support prevention of escalation to and also transition from Tier 4 acute units.
- Skyline will be a set up as a public sector entity, acquiring and refurbishing suitable properties with Partners procured to deliver high quality care from those premises.
- GM LAs will commit upfront to an occupancy level, to guarantee service sustainability.
- Long term care contracts procured, giving financial certainty to providers, and eliminating occupancy, property, inflation and financing/interest rate risks.
- Public sector partners to support the necessary recruitment & retention programme, with an attractive employment offer including training & progression routes.
- Skyline surpluses will be recycled for social and community purposes and determined by GM LAs.
Development work to create the investment business case has been completed, and co-production of the model and specification both alongside LA, Health, Education and wider partners including Care Providers continues in earnest. We intend to have the first Skyline Homes open in 2024.
Project 2: Growth Partnerships
Establish local and regional ways that enable local authorities to better encourage growth of high quality providers in Greater Manchester, including priming the Voluntary and Community (VCSE) sector to develop new services in the city-region.
This project recognises the need to see carefully managed growth of high quality care placements in the region.
We launched the GM Gateway to Growth Scheme (supporting over 50 local orgs) to engage in business development, mentoring and apprenticeship access support and created the GM Children in Care Social Enterprise Taskforce (CICSET), a collaboration of VCSE organisations who are now working together to re-establish and revitalise a vibrant social sector in GM.
Project 3: Collaborative ‘Soft Block’ Purchasing Arrangements
We continue to explore ways to commission collaborative ‘soft block’ purchases between two or more GM local authorities in order to ring-fence capacity and give local authorities a more strategic contractual partnership with local Providers.
The GM Soft Block Pathfinder was procured and awarded in March 2023 with Bolton Council, Bury Council, Trafford Council and Wigan Council partnering with two local Children’s Residential Care Providers. The intention is to learn from this pathfinder and work with interested GM LAs to expand the model across other localities.
Project 4: GM First
Create a strategic forum for Greater Manchester-wide sufficiency, consultation and market management with the independent sector.
This became the GM First Covenant which is available on the Sufficiency Observatory.
Behind the covenant sits a sufficiency monitoring framework which overlays GM care placement supply against GM LA placements, to alert and understand variances in the proportions of GM based services that are supporting children and young people from Greater Manchester. This enables LAs both to recognise and reward Providers that are dedicating high proportions of their service to supporting local children whilst also helping to identify Providers that are doing the opposite and open a more targeted dialogue with them.
Project 5: Supporting Recruitment and Retention Across the Children’s Social Care Workforce
Aware of the critical challenges facing the children’s social care workforce currently, we are engaged in two pieces of work to try and support the sector, starting with residential care, but opening out to other areas as we progress.
1. Workforce Campaign
GMCA are partnering with the Children’s Homes Association (CHA) to create a regional marketing campaign to support recruitment to and retention within residential care homes.
It will support GM LAs and Independent Sector Providers that have workforce vacancies in their Homes or are in the process of setting up new ones so that more capacity can be made available to improve sufficiency and access to high quality care for our children and young people.
2. Skills Bootcamp – Children’s Residential
Our ambition is to pilot the very first Skills Bootcamp for Children’s Residential Care in the UK. We are currently procuring a Training Provider and aim to support around 100 individuals across GM to learn more about children’s residential care, receive training and ultimately be partnered with organisations interested in offering them employment opportunities in their services.
Both of these projects are in the early stages. Further updates will be provided in due course.