Senior nurse warns children’s trusts could disrupt service provision

Children’s trusts could fragment services and lead to
staff leaving the new organisations unless the right preparations
are made, the Royal College of Nursing has warned,
writes Derren Hayes.

Speaking at a children’s trust conference, senior RCN
officer Karen Didovich said she was concerned that the successful
pilot bids could further fragment children’s services because
applications are from health, education and social care

She warned that councils need to be cautious in how they develop
trusts, and must not ignore the impact changes have on service
users, as happened in the shaping of care trusts.

Didovich also said that councils setting up children’s
trusts and intending to second staff from different departments to
work in them need to ensure their human resources strategy is
clear. Secondments are more complex to manage than straightforward
transfers of staff, she added.

“You have line management, capability, employment
regulations, pensions and health and safety issues,”
explained Didovich. “Councils need to ask where staff are
going to be, how they are going to work and who they are
responsible to. The seconded employee needs clarity.”

Meanwhile, speculation continues to mount that the government is
planning to set up a single department to provide all
children’s services.

Jane Naish, policy adviser at the Royal College of Nursing, said
she had been told by a reliable source that the government is
recommending merging social services and education into the one
department, with the department of health being given the option
over the extent of its involvement.

Naish said arguments in government over the shape of a future
children’s department is the main reason for the delay in the
long-awaited green paper on children at risk, now not due for
publication until July.

Both Didovich and Naish were speaking at a conference organised
by the Harrogate Centre.

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