Performance Improvement

“Social work services don’t have all of the answers. They need to work closely with other universal providers in all sectors to find new ways to design and deliver services across the public sector.”

August 2008

The key product to emerge from the Performance Improvement Group will be SWIA’s Guide to Supported Self-Evaluation. The Guide is currently being tested by 5 local authorities and will be ready for distribution early in 2009.

Next Meeting of Performance Improvement Group: 6 October

March 2008

The commitment to develop a Performance Improvement Framework is being taken forward in partnership with SWIA’s work to develop supported self-evaluation of social work services within local authorities. This will involve the production of a general guide to self-evaluation that would draw on the established performance inspection model (PIM) to create a tool that could be used by local authorities to help scrutinise their performance on an ongoing basis. The work will also involve developing a series of resources currently termed ‘good practice self evaluation guides’. The first three will focus on commissioning, performance management and leadership in social work services.

December 2007

The Performance Improvement Change Group last met on 10th December, and agreed that SWIA’s work to produce guidance for local authorities on self-improvement should be used as the basis for taking forward the group’s commitment to producing a Performance Improvement Framework.

A work plan has been agreed which will focus on the delivery of 2 key products: the Performance Improvement Framework and a collection of case studies of performance improvement best practice models. The work of this group has to reflect and support the national outcomes in the Concordat published in November and local authority outcome agreements that will be developing over the next year.


At the heart of the performance improvement change programme is a focus on continuous improvement, informed by self-evaluation. The Performance Improvement Framework along with other performance improvement initiatives is intended to drive up the quality of services received and improve outcomes for service users and their families.

A similar approach to performance improvement has already delivered real improvements in the education sector. Learning from this has informed the thinking of the working group set up to develop a performance improvement framework for social work services.