The city council’s Preparation for Adulthood team, working with Birmingham Children’s Trust, has been shortlisted for a Local Government Chronicle award in the ‘innovation’ category.
The team works with a range of young people starting with those with social care needs and then moving incrementally to support wider cohorts of vulnerable young people that don’t meet the thresholds of traditional services. Funded by Birmingham City Council, the service works across the city of Birmingham and across traditional organisational boundaries, and consists of three elements:
- Integrated Transitions Team (ITT) which launched last year, working with young people aged 14 to 30 years whose needs will require continuing support from statutory adult services i.e. young people with SEND.
- Transitions Hub which will provide essential services for young people who have endured Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and trauma.
- The BRIDGE (building resilience independence direction guidance empowerment) Team which launched at the beginning of the year. The team works with young people who, as a result of trauma, may be vulnerable as adults due to child exploitation, domestic abuse, offending behaviours, drugs and alcohol.
Councillor Paulette Hamilton, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “What has proven particularly good is that the innovation is so well embedded across the partnership, meaning areas within the council and Trust as well as health colleagues are working really well together.
“All stakeholders from senior managers to frontline workers are committed to this integrated and holistic service offer. The scale of innovation is quite unusual and shows a real commitment to transforming vulnerable young people’s life outcomes.
“Staff were recruited on their ability to ‘think outside the box’ and for their creativity and innovation as well as experience and qualifications, and the leadership approach ensures that ideas are shared and that colleagues in the team have a voice in shaping the service”.
Unusually, very few staff have a background in adult social care or children’s services and many have not worked for a local authority before. Staff drawn from the private, voluntary and other parts of the public sector have existing skills, approaches and networks that they have been able to bring to the service.
“As it was set up during the pandemic, the majority of the team have never met face to face and although all meetings with partners have been virtual, they have built a strong network with public, private, voluntary and charity partners across the city.”
Andy Couldrick, chief executive of Birmingham Children’s Trust, said: "It is really important for those of us who work with children and young people to do the best we can to support them to become independent, socially connected, economically active young adults. The PfA service, developed jointly between the Trust and the council’s Adult Services, is a ground-breaking and innovative project designed to do just that, and we are delighted to see this recognition for its work."
The service is currently supporting 152 young people seeking support with employment, housing, health and friendships and relationships. From the young people being supported, a Youth Empowerment Squad (YES) group has been set up for consultation and co-production. Personal budgets were provided to 26 young people to support them achieve PFA outcomes, 18 of whom identified as having additional needs.
The winner will be announced in November.