Aftercare - The Next Step

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Aftercare - The Next Step's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Aftercare - The Next Step is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Director and Owner
Our management team
Aftercare – The Next Step focus on providing a range
of flexible, targeted services for looked-after young
people aged 16 to 21, in particular those who have
suffered sexual exploitation. They aim to ease the transition
from local authority care to independent living. To help the
development of each young person they work with, they assign
each individual a personal education and employability mentor.
Director and Owner Ruth Robinson tells
The Parliamentary
about the structure of their service and highlights
the difficulties that young people face when trying to secure
Based in Liverpool, and working throughout the northwest region, we are a
privately owned care provider. Our primary aim is to support the transition
of young people over the age of 16 from the care of a local authority into
independent living.
We commit our time, resources and expertise to each young person. We employ
personalised and flexible services, combined with a strong support model and
highly trained staff. We strive to help each young person through every step
of their journey, to ensure their potential is maximised and that they are able
to achieve their educational and independence objectives, thereby minimising
We specialise in the support and rehabilitation of those who have been victims
of child sexual exploitation. Two of our directors are qualified child exploitation
»Director and Owner:
»Established in 2009
»Based in Liverpool
»Services: Youth support
»No. of employees: 19
»No. of users: 12
Aftercare -
The Next Step
practitioners and work closely with
young victims, social workers and the
police. This has led to many cases
where we have successfully identified
and brought perpetrators to justice.
Recognising warning signs
Due to the vulnerability of those
placed with us, it is important that
all young people with whom we
interact are made aware of any risks or
warning signs of sexual exploitation.
Staff are trained to recognise the key
indicators and incorporate objectives
from policies in areas such as sex
and relationships, anti-bullying, child
protection, and e-safety into individual
and group sessions.
Our key worker sessions include
targeted prevention work, designed for
those known to be more vulnerable to
exploitation. Within these, we:
»Ensure young people are able to
identify risks and warning signs
»Reduce vulnerability and strengthen
»Aid the development of the skills and
knowledge required to make healthy
»Raise awareness of the law and
identify who to turn to for advice
and support
With limited budgets, we endeavour to
provide the best accommodation and
facilities to provide young people with
the freedom to experiment safely and
to accumulate skills for independent
living. We provide floating support,
independent accommodation and
group living.
Our services are provided on the clear
understanding that the welfare of the
young person remains paramount,
conforming to all safeguarding
legislation, Child Protection Acts, and
national and local guidelines.
Presently, services for those leaving
care do not require registration
with Ofsted or the CQC. We are
registered, however, with Placements
North West, who rigorously inspect
and vet us on behalf of the regional
local authorities. The last regional
tender saw our company ranked
as one of the highest-scoring
independent providers within the
Often, young people are seen as the
perpetrators of their situations, when
in reality they are victims. We are
passionate about improving the lives
and prospects for our care leavers,
as they constitute one of the most
vulnerable groups in society. We,
the government and wider society
have a moral obligation to give them
the support necessary as they make
We believe that young people can
make successful, seamless transitions
from care to independence if
the process is built upon a firm
foundation of positive experiences.
We endeavour to provide appropriate
opportunities to ensure the
transformation of the outcomes of
each young person. This can include
the chance to partake in hobbies,
sports and leisure activities or the
encouragement to obtain employment
or further education.
The Aftercare directors
We are
about improving
the lives and
prospects for
our care leavers,
as they
constitute one
of the most
groups in
Highlighting best practice
Providing opportunities for
The initial assessment of a young
person includes identifying their
experiences of any training, education
and volunteering, alongside their
aspirations. This also identifies any
strengths or weaknesses, contributing
to their tailored independent living
template and an action plan designed
to prevent them becoming NEET.
We achieve this through targeting a
successful transition into learning or
employment. The process is focused
on the individual and involves them at
all stages, motivating them to engage
with the SMART targets in their action
plan. We encourage our young people
to take control of their own destinies,
increasing their resilience and self-
reliance, thereby improving their
Each young person is offered a
referral to a personal education and
employability mentor, who provides
them with motivational support,
impartial careers advice, creative arts
and financial assistance.
Success in one area of a young
person’s life ensures success in
others. Therefore, we recognise that
young care leavers need continuing
access to a range of professional
and informal support services.
Furthermore, they must be involved as
key partners throughout the transition
period and beyond, alongside their
careers or significant others. We
work collaboratively with local
agencies to help to secure habitable
accommodation in safe locations.
The difficulties of tenancy
One of the greatest difficulties facing
those leaving care is securing their own
tenancies, as, combined with a deficit
of available social housing, landlords
are reluctant to offer tenancies to
18-year-olds. This is exacerbated
for care leavers, who have often
experienced breakdowns in family
relationships, making them reliant on
local authorities or professional support.
We find that despite having to leave the
care system at 18, many young people
are not ready to live independently.
Leaving their stable home environments
is often a further trauma, creating
further emotional and mental health
setbacks. There is a substantial lack of
mental health services for those aged
16-18, with increasingly large waiting
lists. The greatest issue raised by our care
leavers is that their 18th birthday is not a
day of celebration but instead associated
with the uncertainty of their future.
The Government Care Leaver
Strategy 2013, and the introduction
of the Staying Put duty in 2014, is
already helping outcomes for many
care leavers. We believe that not
only should care leavers have the
opportunity to continue living in their
former foster care beyond 18 but also
that certain cases should be allowed to
remain within the care system – with
the chance to stay in stable, supportive
placements such as ours. The benefits
of such are evidential, with greater
successes and outcomes for those who
have remained within our service for
4-6 months following turning 18.
We encourage
our young
people to take
control of their
own destinies,
increasing their
resilience and
improving their
life chances.
Specialising in Personalised,
Tailored Support Packages and oering:
Intense 1:1 support for Young People,
who are victims of CSE, Drugs and Crime
Group Living Semi Independent
Solo Placements
Floating Support
Drop in Services
Access to suitable Education,
Training and Employment
Development in Independent Living Skills
Providing a range of exible,
targeted services for
Looked After Young People,
aged 16 to 21
Leaving Care and Semi-Independent
Support Specialists
...the next step
Aftercare the Next Step Ltd
Units 2b, Wavertree Boulevard, Liverpool. L7 9PF.
Tel: 0151 228 1633
Providing a range of
flexible, targeted services
for looked-after young
people, aged 16 to 21

This article was sponsored by Aftercare - The Next Step. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister