Case study: Nottinghamshire County Council

CIPFA Social Care Benchmarking Club 2014/15

Why CIPFA?

The CIPFA benchmarking tool provides a reliable and credible source of data that can help us make informed decisions about making required efficiency savings across services for looked after children. The CIPFA tool enables us to compare our costs on a like-for-like basis (as far as possible) with other councils across the country. This is particularly useful to understand the costs of statistical neighbours of Nottinghamshire County Council that are also part of the benchmarking club.

How did we help?

We have been part of the CIPFA Children Looked After Benchmarking Club for the last two years. The data has helped us to understand our position and highlighted the need to compare data to add context to the decisions we need to make now and in the future. We know that this exercise requires a commitment of additional time and resources of operational staff and corporate support, but there is real value in the outcomes that this effort has produced.

Outcomes and lessons learned

One important outcome was the evidence that the actions we had taken to grow our internal fostering scheme have been worthwhile and that we need to continue to strike a balance between providing a good and efficient internal fostering service and getting best value for money from placements we commission in the independent sector. It has also informed our work looking at how we could provide and commission children’s residential care services in future    

Another useful element of the service was the Scrapbook feature. This allowed all those councils that were taking part to add additional narrative and valuable context to the results. It allows us to make sure we are talking about the right issues and gives us intelligence that we can use and trust. This ‘soft’ intelligence is just as useful as the ‘hard’ evidence that the financial data provides.

We have been able to present these figures to all stakeholders, from senior management to elected members and front line staff. This has helped us to generate a shared understanding across our services of the financial challenges we face and the direction we are travelling in as an organisation to meet them.

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