Senior representatives from a range of statutory and voluntary
agencies with child protection responsibilities were due to meet
with Paul Boateng later this week to discuss their ideas for a
green paper on the future of children’s services,
writes Sally Gillen.
Boateng is chairperson of the cabinet sub committee responsible
for drawing up the green paper on children.
In a statement released on Wednesday a range of agencies with
child protection responsibilities said schools are crucial to the
success of the delivery of services to protect vulnerable
The 12 agencies argue that co-location of services focusing on
schools will be important.
Signatories including the Metropolitan police, the Society of
Local Authority Chief Executives, the Association of Directors of
Social Services also call for the development of a set of
occupational standards for all people working with children.
But they reject proposals for a generic children’s worker,
arguing that while professionals working with children should have
a range of mandatory skills and competencies, specialist skills
should be maintained.
Inspection regimes across the agencies should also be integrated
and aligned, according to the statement.
A handful of children’s charities including
Barnardo’s and the Children’s Society have also signed
up to the document, which backs Lord Laming’s conclusion that
the Children Act 1989 is legislatively sound.
However, it urges that significant investment is needed, as well
as organisational and cultural change, new protocols for handling
information and changes in restrictions on data sharing between
The document also reiterates calls within a paper by the local
government organisations, released last week for the local
authority to be the accountable body, but with each agency
“absolutely clear” about their responsibilities.
Jane Naish, policy adviser at the Royal College of Nursing, told
a children’s services conference last week that the
government was recommending merging social services and education
into one department, with the department of health being given the
option over the extent of its involvement.
Naish attributed the delay in the publication of the green
paper, now expected in July, to arguments in government over the
shape of a future children’s department.