Decision details


Decision Maker: Director of Children, Families and Education

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Director for Children, Families and Education Services has decided to award a DfE grant funded contract in the sum of £170,000 to for a term of 12 months to , Public Services Lab LLP (Trading as ‘Capacity') of Suite 3A, Queen Insurance Building 24 Queen Avenue Liverpool L2 4TZ, Company Registration No: OC414783) to conduct Phase 1 of the proposal to incubate and pilot an innovative, not-for-profit alternative delivery vehicle to the commercial staffing agencies currently used to recruit temporary children’s social workers in the Northwest of England.

Reasons for the decision:

The purposes of the proposed new alternative delivery vehicle will be to:
• increase the stability of the permanent workforce in children’s social care
• increase the quality of the temporary workforce in children’s social care
• reduce the costs associated with agency employees.
Improve outcomes for service users, through the attraction, retention and conversion of Children’s Social Workers into permanent roles

Thus supporting one of our thematic priorities within the Wirral Plan 2021-2026: Brighter Futures - working together for brighter futures for our children, young people and their families by breaking the cycle of poor outcomes for all regardless of their background.

It is anticipated that these purposes will achieve this by pursuing the following activities in respect of Strategy, Governance and Planning:

- Obtain legal advice on procurement and legal structure.
- Refine 5-year Financial Model
- Create a Business Plan
- Agree legal structure and set up.
- Develop & deliver LCR Project Group to support in key areas such as legal, procurement, HR etc.
- Develop & delivery LCR Steering Group

And the following activities in respect of Implementation:
Marketing & Comms Strategy including new brand.
- Recruitment Campaign for key delivery staff.
- Agree key goals for Year 1 test period with Wirral MBC and other participating authorities.
- Technology development. Includes tendering for digital partner, if necessary, fast iteration testing and co-design the user experience with social workers.
- Delivery systems and processes implemented.
- Match and provide agency Social Workers to at least one LA area in the first year of operating (Capacity will find a Social Worker with the required skills and fit that ‘matches’ the needs of that authority and then work with the authority to place them in the vacancy)

Alternative options considered:

Replicate the Commercial Services Group (CSG) Recruitment Joint-Venture Model

Do nothing. This option was rejected as each of
- the current cost of employing agency workers;
- the churn of agency staff;
- inconsistencies in their training and aptitude of agency workers

is considered to be detrimental to the efficient delivery of the service;

Publication date: 14/11/2023

Date of decision: 14/11/2023