GM Sufficiency Programme

GM Sufficiency Programme

The following collaborative projects have been agreed and are underway.

Project 1. Project Skyline (Children’s Residential Care Shared Service)


“Project Skyline” is key strategic project and will be a GM first for GM.

We will develop, finance and structure a major capital investment to create a new Greater Manchester shared children’s residential care service. It will deliver a significant system change and improve the lives of children and young people living in residential care in our region.

The first stage of our ambition is to create around 10 new Homes across 3 different service cohorts:

  1. Complex care mental health support homes – 4 x 2 bed homes with fully integrated mental health service offer
  2. Residential homes supporting younger children with a view to transitioning them back to foster care – 2 x 3 bed homes
  3. Adolescent residential homes – 2 x 3 bed homes for adolescents and 2 x 2 bed homes (one supporting children and young people at risk of criminal exploitation and one supporting children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation)

Long term care contracts will be procured, giving financial certainty to providers, and eliminating occupancy, property, inflation and financing/interest rate risks.

Public sector partners will support the necessary recruitment & retention programme, with an attractive employment offer including training & progression routes.

Skyline surpluses will be recycled for social and community purposes and determined by GM LAs.

A GM wide provision will allow for placements to be local (benefiting the children and the staff) and will provide more placement choice to local authorities. GM wide, shared provision avoids placing an undue responsibility on any one LA to deliver, delivers an overall increase in supply, and may be better equipped to attract a quality workforce.

GMCA are providing support to the project through establishing a project team, building the investment case, leading the procurement process and bringing children's services colleagues together through the Skyline champions.

Latest Update (January 2024)

A memorandum of understanding has now been signed showing the commitment from the 10 LAs and NHS partners to the project moving forwards.

Final provider engagement sessions were completed in December 2023 ahead of the Skyline tender launching spring 2024 with contracts awarded for summer 2024.

Please email for more information.

Project 2: Growth Partnerships


Establish local and regional ways that enable local authorities to better encourage growth of high quality providers in Greater Manchester, including priming the Voluntary and Community (VCSE) sector to develop new services in the city-region.

This project recognises the need to see carefully managed growth of high quality care placements in the region.


We launched the GM Gateway to Growth Scheme (supporting over 50 local orgs) to engage in business development, mentoring and apprenticeship access support and created the GM Children in Care Social Enterprise Taskforce (CICSET), a collaboration of VCSE organisations who are now working together to re-establish and revitalise a vibrant social sector in GM.

Project 3: Collaborative ‘Soft Block’ Purchasing Arrangements


We continue to explore ways to commission collaborative ‘soft block’ purchases between two or more GM local authorities in order to ring-fence capacity and give local authorities a more strategic contractual partnership with local Providers.


The GM Soft Block Pathfinder was procured and awarded in March 2023 with Bolton Council, Bury Council, Trafford Council and Wigan Council partnering with two local Children’s Residential Care Providers. The intention is to learn from this pathfinder and work with interested GM LAs to expand the model across other localities.

Project 4: GM First


Create a strategic forum for Greater Manchester-wide sufficiency, consultation and market management with the independent sector.


This became the GM First Covenant which is available on the Sufficiency Observatory.

Behind the covenant sits a sufficiency monitoring framework which overlays GM care placement supply against GM LA placements, to alert and understand variances in the proportions of GM based services that are supporting children and young people from Greater Manchester. This enables LAs both to recognise and reward Providers that are dedicating high proportions of their service to supporting local children whilst also helping to identify Providers that are doing the opposite and open a more targeted dialogue with them.

Project 5: Supporting Recruitment and Retention Across the Children’s Social Care Workforce


Aware of the critical challenges facing the children’s social care workforce currently, we are engaged in two pieces of work to try and support the sector, starting with residential care, but opening out to other areas as we progress.

1. Workforce Campaign

GMCA is partnering with the Children’s Homes Association (CHA) to create a regional marketing campaign to support recruitment to and retention within residential care homes.

It will support GM LAs and Independent Sector Providers that have workforce vacancies in their Homes or are in the process of setting up new ones so that more capacity can be made available to improve sufficiency and access to high quality care for our children and young people.


This project is in the early stages. Further updates will be provided in due course.

2. GM Skills Bootcamp for Children’s Residential and Supported Accommodation

Acorn Training has been commissioned by GMCA to rollout a series of skills bootcamps in Greater Manchester with a view to supporting recruitment into children’s residential care and supported accommodation. These launch in February 2024.

What are Skills Bootcamps?

Bootcamps are short taster courses (8 weeks) and therefore an ideal starting point for those aspiring to work in children’s residential homes and supported accommodation services. They offer a well rounded foundation in child development, communication, safeguarding, and crisis intervention, complemented by a holistic approach that fosters qualities like empathy, compassion, and resilience. The course will also include a work experience placement to gain insight into the sector.


There are opportunities for two groups:

  1. Providers / employers – organisations with services in Greater Manchester that provide either children’s residential care and / or supported accommodation are welcome to become employment partners (i.e. potential destinations for learners completing a bootcamp and looking to start a career in the sector). There is no charge to this.
  2. Candidates / learners – These skills bootcamps are completely free or charge and are open to anyone aged 19+ and based in Greater Manchester. Learners can be unemployed or employed – there are different pathways available to support individuals career needs.
Further Information

If you fall into either of the groups above please visit this website, telephone 0161 388 3400 or email to find out more.