One Adoption West Yorkshire scoops second national award
Flagship regional adoption agency, One Adoption West Yorkshire (OAWY) picked up its second major national award in only five months at the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards ceremony last week.
To add to the prestigious Excellence in Adoption Practice title achieved at the National Adoption Week Awards in October, One Adoption West Yorkshire has now been awarded the Public-Public Partnerships award for its successful work bringing together adoption services across the five local authorities in West Yorkshire.
The OAWY entry – submitted by the regional agency’s host authority, Leeds City Council – was selected ahead of ten other shortlisted nominees.
In a rigorous selection process, the 20 winners of the LGC Awards were selected by panels featuring some of the country’s most respected council chief executives and senior leaders who heard presentations and interviewed representatives of the shortlisted entries.
Judges heard how OAWY was the first regional adoption agency in the country, established in April 2017, bringing together the adoption services of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. In the first year since its launch, OAWY has successfully reduced delay for children between entering care and moving in with adoptive families, with timescales below the national average and still improving. The entry also showed how OAWY has streamlined processes, including reducing the number of adoption panels across the region; and implemented innovative ways of working, including peer mentoring by adoptive parents, using Virtual Reality in its training and developing a Centre of Excellence for Adoption Support.
OAWY was established in line with the Department for Education’s drive towards regionalisation to secure improvement and drive efficiencies. The regional agency is responsible for the recruitment, assessment and training of adopters across the region, family finding and adoption support. Under the regional arrangements, each local authority retains their responsibilities for planning and decision making for individual children.
The judges said of the One Adoption West Yorkshire / Leeds City Council entry:
“This partnership has taken an inclusive, transformational approach to deliver a consistent, high-quality service. It has delivered a flagship service across a wide geographic area, was the first of its kind, sets the standard for the rest of the country, and is shaped by the experience of its stakeholders.”
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the West Yorkshire Adoption Joint Committee said:
“I am proud that the incredible hard work and dedication of OAWY over the past two years has been recognised through these prestigious national awards.
“In bringing together adoption services across West Yorkshire, keeping the needs of children and families at the heart of everything we do has been paramount. By streamlining processes and introducing innovative practices, I am delighted that the partnership has successfully reduced the amount of time children wait to find a permanent, loving home – and this continues to improve.”
Sarah Johal, head of agency at One Adoption West Yorkshire said:
“We were shocked and delighted to win this prestigious award for our partnership working across West Yorkshire and improving outcomes for children and families.
“It is a real testament to the hard work and commitment of all the One Adoption West Yorkshire team over the last two years. Together we have provided a blueprint for other regional adoption agencies across the country and I feel privileged to have been part of this journey. We still have a long way to go but this award shows we are heading in the right direction and are making a difference to those who need it most.”
About the LGC Awards Nick Golding, LGC’s editor, said:
“Councils shortlisted for an LGC Award have proved themselves to be among the nation’s most innovative.
“At a time when communities nationwide are reeling from uncertainty and continuing austerity, we need to celebrate the local leaders – both council officers and councillors – without whose inspiring work our cherished local services would be even further diminished.
“All too often the depth of talent in local government is not sufficiently appreciated but the LGC Awards are unashamedly about celebrating those doing most to provide the services our communities require.”
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