PwC with Children in care

Best Use of Thought Leadership

The care system for children and young people in the UK is complex and challenging. Although the difficulties are known and the policy intentions good, the data is insufficient to inform and drive effective decisions. In collaboration with Home for Good, a charity that helps children find stable and loving homes, PwC’s Investment of a Lifetime campaign set out to understand, quantify and communicate the true economic and social cost of care, to produce a stark statistic as an impetus for action.

Their motivation was personal more than commercial, with the work carried out in their free time by people who are passionate about improving the lives of children in care. With no commercial outcome or fee in mind, they were driven by curiosity about an important issue, the need for change, and a wish to do the right thing.

PwC’s lack of commercial interest in this work brought enormous benefits. Colleagues recognised the social significance of the issue, shared a belief that it was an important problem that needed solving, and knew how to harness the firm’s ability to bring people together with purpose. The team volunteered their time, including evenings and weekends, to examine the topic and develop new perspectives over an extended period. This motivation lent them the authenticity and credibility to engage closely and learn more from those who knew and understood the nuances of different parts of the system.

The main impact of their work has been to change the conversation. The issues and questions are long-standing, but PwC’s thought leadership has informed new thinking and inspired more innovative discussions, across national and local bodies, and internally at their firm.

The work has had a direct influence on the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England, commissioned by the government in 2021 and chaired by Josh MacAlister. The Review is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform how social care works for children, to give them loving, safe and stable families. It welcomed PwC’s work and described it as the “perfect piece of insight, perfectly timed” to take the Review and its investigations to a new level.

Meanwhile, in October 2021, PwC’s work formed the basis for a seminar, attended by representatives from across local government and voluntary organisations. The panel included the President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, who brought 30 years of experience in social care, as well as an individual who spoke movingly of her time in care and how the themes of the report resonated with her. As a result, stronger connections and networks were forged across the sector, to help join up and tackle the issues PwC identified in Investment of a Lifetime.

In the words of Tania Bright, Chief Executive of Home for Good, “The report, and the discussion it stimulated, helped to bring fresh perspectives and emphasise how government, businesses and wider society can all work differently to improve lives.”

View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.