New vision for children’s services stresses local solutions

Key agencies responsible for children’s services have set out
their vision for the future, outlining a new model for a more
co-ordinated, locally based service, writes Janet

In their new report the Local Government Association, the
Association of Directors of Social Services and the NHS
Confederation reject calls for a national child protection

Instead they offer an alternative framework, building on
existing structures rather than replacing them with something

John Ransford, the LGA head of social affairs, health and
housing, called for a full and open national debate to “smoke out”
the issues.

“There seems to be some confusion in the run up to the
publication of the Laming report. It has been suggested the
government is not going to listen to Laming. I don’t know whether
that’s true but what I do know is that the government appears to be
running an unjoined-up agenda. The idea of children’s trusts has
been mooted, but then there are suggestions that a national rather
than local solution is the way forward.
So we are putting forward this report as a basis for further

Jane Held, ADSS children and families joint chairperson and
Camden director of social services, added that the joint proposals
were, above all, flexible. “It’s about making local circumstances
work for local kids rather than imposing artificial structures and

“The point is you can never eliminate all risk, but if you
support excellence in practice that can help minimise risk.”

The report warns that when a tragedy occurs there is a tendency
to view it as a systems failure rather than either a unique set of
events or a failure of one component of the system which could be
put right.

It adds that major change is often destructive to those services
that are performing well.

Other ideas put forward in the report

New children’s strategic partnership boards (reporting to local
strategic partnerships)

A unified performance management system based on the developing
National Service Framework for children

A universal child indicator to ensure vulnerable children are
identified across agencies and essential information is exchanged

A single assessment system allowing agencies to share a common
approach to assessing and recording need

A unified workforce plan

New children’s champions to promote the interests of children
and “walk the services” to identify weaknesses

Serving Children Well – a new vision for children’s services see

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