Children Bill “only the start”, LGA warns

The children’s bill is only the start of the process
required to improve outcomes for children and there is no room for
complacency, delegates at a children’s conference were warned
this week, writes Amy Taylor.

John Ransford, director of education and social policy at the
Local Government Association, said there was a danger that the bill
could become “aspirational rhetoric”, and called on
professionals to create a “fundamental change” in
children’s services to ensure this was not the case.

“We have not finished anything yet, we have not solved it.
We have got to the first stage,” he said at the conference
organised by the charity 4Children.

Ransford warned that the sector had nearly been at such a point
of change in the past in the wake of children’s deaths.
“We must never forget that we have said before that these
things must never happen again and that the system must change, so
let’s change it”.

He added that there was a need to ensure that professionals had
“sufficient resources” to make the measures in the
Children Bill happen. Human resources really needed to be invested
in, he said adding the LGA was looking to the comprehensive
spending review in the summer for positive decisions on

Ransford welcomed the government’s plans to allow greater
flexibility around the role of directors of children’s
services which allow the post to be organised in line with local

He added that children’s trusts were “fine as a
concept” but that they were a “way of working”
not a “structural solution”, with a need for cultural
as well as structural change.

“There is no structural panacea for anything…the
important thing is how people work together and are focussed on
people who need the service,” he concluded.

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