A one-day introduction for local authorities

Systems thinking applied to Children’s Social Care

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Tuesday 25th June 2019 in Manchester [COMPLETE]

Tuesday 9th July 2019 in London [COMPLETE]

January/February of 2020 - details coming soon

Why systems thinking?

Leaders of children’s social care systems are familiar with the pressures of supporting children and families: escalating child protection concerns compounded by limited resources for early help; a workforce under strain, and variable costs of children’s placements, all within the context of budgets being stretched to breaking point. 

In the summer of 2019, the Dartington Service Design Lab is running a series of introductory workshops on Systems Thinking applied to Children’s Social Care. As a leader in Children’s Services, you will learn about children’s social care as a dynamic system, and explore the local drivers of need, demand and pressure points. By seeing the system as a whole, you will be able to identify the best places and ways to intervene so that more children are kept safely at home. 

Who is the training for?

This workshop is for senior leaders, commissioners and managers working in local authority children’s services and social care. This workshop will be beneficial if you are looking for a fresh perspective on the challenges you are facing in your area. It will help you get a deeper understanding of how the wider system functions, and the intended and perhaps unintended consequences of decisions that you and others make. 

The event draws on the Dartington Service Design Lab’s experience of applying these concepts to practice in numerous local authorities in England. Our work has been developed through a partnership with the Social Systems Design Lab at the Brown School of Social Work (Washington University in St Louis, US). You can read more about our work in applying systems thinking to children’s social care in this short brief.

What does the workshop include?

The one-day workshop will be engaging, practical and interactive. It will include:

  • An introduction to key concepts of systems thinking and system dynamics;

  • The practical application of key concepts to local challenges;

  • Interactive exercises and games to bring concepts to life; 

  • Illustrations of how concepts may be developed into simulation models to help inform strategies and local system reforms;

  • An overview of some key insights authorities have made to date using these approaches;

  • Opportunities to network with fellow training participants throughout the day, exploring areas of similar concern and opportunities for local authority collaboration and shared learning.  

Contact information

If you’ve got any questions don’t hesitate to drop us a line at: