Reflections from the EOI process – blog piece 2

The response to the expressions of interest (EOI) process has been incredible. We were amazed at the level of interest in the Innovation Programme at the launch and follow-up workshops in London and Leeds, and this has continued through the summer with 280+ expressions of interested being submitted to the programme.

Many of the EOIs came from organisations traditionally operating within children’s social care, including local authorities, but quite a few came from public, private and voluntary sector organisations that are new to the sector. There were a number of interesting observations about the nature of the challenge:

  • There is huge appetite for innovation, whether through the development of a new solution or the scaling of an existing one, like reclaiming social work
  • The challenges are nationwide – organisations across the breadth and depth of England are seeking innovative solutions for the same sorts of issues
  • Every part of the social care system would benefit from some degree of innovation – from early intervention through to leaving care support

Throughout September the Spring Consortium and DfE policy leads assessed each EOI. The team thoroughly enjoyed reading each application and were inspired and motivated by the level of enthusiasm and innovation we saw within them. After the initial assessments, the EOIs were then reviewed in a series of workshops to start to develop a picture of the portfolio we would present to the minister.

The minister recently announced that a total of £100m of funding is now available. This increase in funding is a reflection of the level of interest in innovation and the overall quality of EOIs received, and allows us to support more of the brilliant applications.

As a result, our final portfolio consists of around 70 EOIs, covering a broad range of ideas, which we believe have the potential to be truly transformational. These ideas include:

  • Whole system change for a local area
  • National system transformation
  • Residential care solutions
  • Therapeutic models
  • Alternative delivery models
  • Fostering and adoption ideas

We are delighted with the quality and breadth of the portfolio and will be working with these projects over the next few months to develop full proposals for the investment board. There were lots of brilliant EOIs which we had to reject and we really hope that those bidders will continue on their innovation journey, developing their ideas to improve outcomes for children’s social care. The learning programme is open to everyone and we encourage the whole sector to come together to share learning about innovation and making change happen.

The Spring Consortium is committed to making this programme a success for the sector and we would really appreciate you telling us about the experience of working with us. Please take 5 minutes to share your feedback if you submitted an EOI this year.

Caroline Hope, programme lead