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Coram Innovation Incubator

A National Catalyst for Radical Innovation in Children’s Social Care


Introducing the Coram Innovation Incubator

In collaboration with eight local authorities – along with Microsoft and EY – Coram has launched the Coram Innovation Incubator (CII) a specialist vehicle for children’s services providers to generate, test and scale radical solutions to shared challenges facing the children’s social care sector. Leveraging a collective drive to support vulnerable children and young people at a time of great need, the CII will allow leaders to collaborate with – and work as entrepreneurs alongside – Coram and private sector experts to co-develop new approaches through the pursuit and exploitation of new products, processes and practice.

A call for radical solutions

Covid-19 has severely and permanently changed life as we know it. For children and young people, the pandemic has brought serious challenges including: disrupted education, social isolation and hidden harm – within or outside families, in person or online. All of this has compounded what was already a picture of increasing complexity and demand and it is imperative that we respond to this new context with radical solutions that meet the scale of the challenge.

Between December 2020 and January 2021, Coram-i carried out the first National Survey of Children’s Services Providers. The survey revealed that, although children’s services recognise the need to embrace new technology and innovative ways of working, they lack the resources to commit to the kinds of changes required to make the greatest difference. A mere 39% of the organisations surveyed were able to operate at the necessary level of radical innovation. Whilst the Department of Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, and the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care have done important work in initiating incremental improvements to practice and exploring evidence-based changes in the sector, the CII will provide the opportunities and infrastructure for a programme of much needed radical innovation in the sector.

To see the full insight report from the survey, please click here.

How the CII works

The CII brings together the insights of local authority partners, Coram’s highly experienced multi-disciplinary team and private sector expertise to develop and pilot innovative solutions to the most important challenges facing children’s services as defined by the providers of those services. The CII creates a space for the sharing of ideas and issues from which projects, partnerships and, ultimately, products or services will emerge. It is designed to enable senior leaders to be involved in the development – or incubation – of an innovation programme and to delegate implementation as appropriate within their teams.


Coram Innovation Incubator graphic

The CII operates on a 12-month cycle of Innovation Labs, Learning Sets and webinars, Innovation Surveys and regular reporting on good practice. Partner organisations will also receive dedicated support from a CII Innovation Business Partner. For more information on these components, click here.

The CII Offer

Innovation Labs Designed to interrogate specific challenges, these 2-hour workshops will run 3 times per year and be the first stage in the creation of an innovation project co-developed with end users.
Innovation Reports  Published 3 times per year, our Innovation Reports compile and analyse innovative practice and cutting-edge solutions to promote effective new practice. We will also conduct an annual survey to measure innovation practice across the sector.
Learning Sets Using data featured in the Innovation Reports, the Learning Sets will run 3 times per year ensuring that new practice can be rapidly assimilated by partner organisations. We will also run regular webinars for senior leaders to support the project management process.
Innovation Business Partners Our Innovation Business Partners are available to work with individual partner organisations for up to 3 days per year with support tailored to your team’s needs and priorities.

Our Private Sector Colleagues


Recognising the need to co-develop solutions with know-how and resources from the private sector, Coram is proud to be working with three titans of innovation – Microsoft, EY and PA Consulting. Each organisation is committed to contributing their insight and expertise to support the sector to innovate to improve the lives of children and young people. The CII will seek out and secure further partnerships as needed to deliver on its programme of innovation, bringing the very best of the private sector to bear on the challenges for children.

Our Partners

The CII seeks to become the ‘go to’ place for local authorities looking to co-develop innovative ways of working in partnership with other local authorities, relevant private sector partners and wider public bodies/agencies.

We are delighted to announce the following founding partners to the incubator: London Borough of Redbridge, North Yorkshire County Council, Hertfordshire County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, London Borough of Bromley, Stoke City Council, London Borough of Havering, London Borough of Newham, Warrington Borough Council and the London Innovation and Improvement Alliance. By bringing these partners together, the CII will facilitate national collaboration and idea generation, around common “grand challenges” and provide a vehicle to develop and test radical innovations, without the substantial burden of risk or distraction from business as usual that pursuing these projects alone may create.

Coram is looking for a further nine partners to join the CII for this first cycle in 2021, and shape the innovation programme in future cycles. The joining fee will be £7,100 for the year.

For more information or to find out more about becoming a CII partner, please email:  

[email protected] or click here.

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