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LILAC Assessment: Former Care Leavers Enthuse about Avocet

An assessment of Specialist Education Services took place in September 2011, against the seven LILAC standards.

The key purpose of LILAC is to draw upon the experiences and expertise of care-experienced young people to improve the policy and practice of agencies in how they involve and consult with children in Care and Care Leavers. It does this by using a framework of quality standards for involvement which has been developed by care-experienced young people. Young people from Care are trained to assess the performance of agencies against the LILAC standards.

  1. Shared values
  2. Style of leadership
  3. Structures
  4. Staff
  5. Recruitment and selection
  6. Care planning and review
  7. Complaints and advocacy

The LILAC standards are based on the well-known ‘Hear By Right’ approach to participation but they have been developed to closely reflect the nature of the care system. They have been developed by care-experienced young people to reflect what is important to them. Each standard is backed by a number of criteria to ensure a robust methodology that focuses on quality over processes. (Website:

Quotes from the report:

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The LILAC assessment team had not encountered a service use as SES that provided such a large number of services for young people and the number of good practices already in places that the team found it to be outstanding as an independent organisation providing specialised education and residential care throughout Norfolk and the wider UK.

LILAC Assessors wanted to acknowledge and commend the “No limit approach” ‘in place at AVOCET House for supporting young people’s achievement and the genuine focus of the staff team in supporting the young people in place and the continuous learning ethos throughout the entire service. LILAC Assessors felt that this sort of ‘placement/home’ offering both emotional and practical support can be invaluable for young people and for some young people this was the first time they have been empowered in making decisions about what happens to them. None of them had experienced this service in their own Local Authorities but felt it would have been extremely useful.

Messages from LILAC Assessors:

They are doing great work with the young people, I think most of the young people are happy and I wish for more young people to have that kind of opportunity and their work is outstanding really.

This home would be ideal for some of the new young people I know.

All the staff at SES really care about the young people and want to do the best for the young people they look after and really want to make their lives better

Messages from LILAC Assessors: