David Cameron’s announcement today that under performing children’s services will be swiftly taken over by trusts fundamentally misunderstands the cause of the problem, warns Children England.
Kathy Evans, Chief Executive of Children England, says:
“After a Spending Review that failed to mention child protection and children in care at all, and dealt the councils responsible for their care the savage blow of further 56% budget cuts, threats to takeover ‘failing’ children’s services teams looks like deckchair re-arrangement on a fleet of torpedoed ships.
“Changing the management structure without addressing the systemic inadequacy of budgets to meet rapidly increasing levels of children’s needs is an irresponsible political move that will leave early intervention abandoned, and essential staff stressed and demoralised. Children’s charities right across the country are committed to collaborating with councils in whatever ways they can to help preserve and improve the safety net for children – but with over £150 million cuts to their government funding last year alone, we are also seeing, first hand, the severe impact on children and young people, and on the multi-agency working that is so important to keep them safe. Handover to Trusts is a very new initiative and the jury is still out on whether, and how, they might help. They are certainly no panacea, and with Doncaster’s takeover Trust recently rated ‘Inadequate’, the Prime Minister should show more caution in presuming that takeovers are a decisive or strong solution.”
“Moreover there is worrying analysis from the Local Government Association that Ofsted inspection, rather than providing a reliable picture of the quality of children’s services, is inadequate . Just last week their report quoted a Director of Children’s Services: ‘The cuts in funding have created a situation which inspection just isn’t intellectually flexible enough to comprehend.’ This is another indication that current government policies are radically failing to appreciate, let alone address, the real situation facing children’s services.”
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