‘What Works’ for children and young people?

Calderdale Council has been selected to play an important role in shaping a new national centre that will support social work practice across England.

The Council has been chosen as one of 21 local authorities and trusts to help develop a new countrywide ‘What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care’, to make a difference to children, young people and their families.

The What Works Centre will help organisations to learn from each other and improve services by sharing knowledge about the best ways to support local people. It’s a new initiative by the Department for Education and the lead developer is Nesta, the innovation charity.  

The decisions that social care leaders and practitioners make can impact on children, young people and their families throughout their lives. The What Works Centre will ensure that those decisions are based on reliable evidence about what works well.

Cllr Megan Swift, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said:

“We’re delighted to help support the development of the new What Works Centre. It’s fantastic recognition of our work in children’s social care, putting Calderdale on the national stage as somewhere that’s distinctive and talented – key themes of the Vision2024 for Calderdale.


“Our social workers do an amazing job supporting children and young people every day and they know what does and doesn’t work for them. We actively seek opportunities to learn, share our learning and adapt our services to better meet the needs of our communities. We’re excited to use this experience to help change people’s lives locally and across the country.”

The Council is already proving that new approaches can lead to big impacts. For example, its innovative Positive Choices programme is stopping the cycle of care leavers’ children being taken into care, by offering intensive support to young people throughout their pregnancies and their children’s early years.

The Council will work with the What Works Centre to design and trial masterclasses for Calderdale social work teams, so that everyone knows how to access and use evidence of what works for local families, and to help them share it effectively to influence decisions locally and nationally. If successful, the Centre will consider rolling out these masterclasses across the country.

As a partner, the Council will receive a grant from the Centre to fund the work.

Find out more about the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care at link)

The year 2024 marks Calderdale’s 50th anniversary. But where do we want to be by 2024? What’s our ambition and what will be different? Get involved with the debate on Twitter with #VisionCdale2024 and find out more at

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