Laming warns social services they risk losing control of children’s services

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Social services departments risk losing responsibility to a
national agency unless they improve, Lord Laming warned delegates
at the National Social Services Conference, writes
Sally Gillen.

In his last speech before returning to retirement, the
chairperson of the Victoria Climbie Inquiry said: “In my view
the position is clear. If local authorities do not fundamentally
change their responses to children and families, and other children
suffer as Victoria did, then there can be no complaint if their
functions are transferred elsewhere.”

He added: “I must make it clear that I am in no doubt that
the current range and quality of services to children is seriously
inadequate.”

Laming said services needed to “break free” once and
for all from the “vice-like grip” of child protection,
and that services had been organised around crisis because of a
preoccupation with child protection.

He told a packed auditorium that he rejected the notion that
social services was lead agency in promoting the development of
children.

“A child in need no more belongs to social services than
it does to the other services. Each service must discharge its
different and unique responsibilities,” he said.

Pleas for more resources to implement the green paper on
children would stand more chance of being met if the government was
persuaded that current resources were being used efficiently.

Laming said it was not “ruthless” managers that were
needed, but those who were resourceful.

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