“A comprehensive and well-considered development programme for practitioners and managers is equipping staff with new skills to improve practice and management grip.”

On Rochdale’s overall staff development programme to which Strengthening Practice contributed. Ofsted focused inspection visit to Rochdale Borough Council children’s services, February 2019


In the wake of a series of high-profile cases, Rochdale was under pressure. Leaders knew they needed to support their staff to use an evidence-informed approach to practice to drive improvement in outcomes for children and young people. They responded decisively, seeking out strong partners who could stay the course with them. We worked together with Rochdale to deliver the Strengthening Practice and Strengthening Managers programmes to their entire case-holding workforce. We contributed to a transformation in culture, building enduring partnerships between social workers and the community that help better protect children and young people.

Today we continue to work with Rochdale to deliver in-depth, targeted training through the Strengthening Relational Practice programme and the Strengthening Leadership programme – helping Rochdale’s leaders to cement a change in culture across the whole organisation. We’re incredibly proud to help them as they bring about ongoing improvements in their work with children, young people and families.

Issues Addressed

Rochdale’s leaders wanted to build their work from the ground up around relational practice – building positive relationships between practitioners and families to inform practice decisions with empathy and emotional wisdom. Practitioners wanted to get back in touch with the core skills and values that inform their work. They were seeking new, helpful, evidence-informed skills they could rely on to drive improvements in their work, delivered by emotionally intelligent trainers.

Together, we developed and delivered two comprehensive programmes of practice training for Rochdale Children’s Social Care – the Strengthening Practice and Strengthening Managers Programmes. We continue to work with Rochdale to deliver the Strengthening Relational Practice programme and Strengthening Leadership programme, helping cement a positive change in culture that improves outcomes for children and young people.

Outcomes achieved

Over the course of the two programmes, facilitators and participants alike noted the clear growth of confidence, knowledge and skill that staff and managers were gaining from the training. The first day for each cohort was quite subdued, but our facilitators helped promote a lively and constructive discussion. Trainers’ emotional wisdom and appreciation of the power structure within the organisation helped put participants at ease when navigating difficult topics like accountability and performance management.

More and more, workers were beginning to demonstrate high-level reflective, evidence-based and child-focused practice – sharing their expertise and enthusiasm with their peers. Managers increasingly embraced their role as leaders in focusing their staff’s attention on outcomes for children, beyond a narrow focus on compliance. Even though Rochdale’s workforce felt overwhelmed, staff attended and engaged with the programmes. In their responses to surveys that followed each module, workers overwhelmingly reported they felt the training was relevant and met their expectations, giving them useful tools to put into practice.

After every module, we provided comprehensive and frank feedback to Rochdale, giving them valuable insights into how to best support their staff and managers through training and address issues that arose. Our reports provided authoritative evidence that staff were improving their practice, applying their new knowledge to work towards better outcomes for children.

Now we’re working with Rochdale to deliver the Strengthening Leadership programme of work for them as well as the Strengthening Relational Practice programme. Together, we’ve worked to build programmes that target the exact areas where further support will drive better outcomes for children.


“I feel confident going away trying different things – course very inspirational”

“This makes me rethink ways of undertaking assessment. Concentrating on analysis and ensuring critical thinking is part of it”

“I feel I have many more tools and resources to use in assessment. I feel that I have a deeper understanding of assessment tools that I previously knew about but now understand better.”

“I felt the presenter’s pace of delivery was pitched really well, allowing time for discussion with peers and reflection to aid understanding of subject matter”

“Trainer’s knowledge and enthusiasm were fantastic” “Thank you for your insight, wisdom, knowledge and humour – it was an enjoyable two-day training programme”

“Enjoyed session, particularly in terms of discussing the organisation and strategic goals from the perspective of colleagues from different areas of service”

How can we support your team to better serve children, young people and families? Get in touch and let us know how we can help.

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