17 May 2009

Revised method of operation for family group conference

Revised method of operation for family group conferences - £35k saving

In the context of wider budget pressures across the Children’s Services Department, the Family Group Conference service reviewed the way in which it operated to make more effective use of the limited resources which were available.

One way in which this was achieved was to introduce a policy of accepting referrals from other services only where adequate preparation had been undertaken with the family before hand.  This ensured that there was greater willingness to engage in the conference process by all those involved, freeing up time previously spent by co-ordinators to facilitate this early work. This was achieved through improved planning and referral processes being implemented, and the service working more closely with those making referrals to them to ensure that they understood the new referral policy.

In 2007/08 the number of referrals made to the service reduced by 30% from the number received during 2006/07.  In addition the percentage of accepted referrals which resulted in an initial conference being convened also increased by 9%, indicating that the quality of the referrals being made to the service had improved.

As a result the service was able to convene a greater number of initial conferences, first and second reviews within the available resource then would have been previously been achievable, leading to a reduction in the unit cost of the service.

Many thanks to Hampshire County Council for this example

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