Never has the phrase “the devil is in the detail” been more
appropriate or more terrifying. Although the Children Act 2004
finally made its way onto the statute book this week, much more
information is needed before we can begin to understand the full
implications of its proposals.
The first swathe of much-needed guidance is expected early next
month. It is hoped that this will begin to shed some light on key
changes such as the creation of one or more databases and the
establishment of children’s trusts (although the latter
surprisingly do not even warrant a mention in the Act itself).
But despite these holes, few would disagree that the Act
represents the most significant piece of legislation for children
since the Children Act 1989. The sector is now desperate to see
that the mistakes in implementing the latter are not repeated.
In order to ensure the 2004 Act’s focus on genuinely
integrated and preventive services bears fruit, the costs
associated with change and service delivery must be acknowledged
The new public health white paper insists children’s
trusts and other joint planning measures included in the Children
Act are central to the delivery of its targets too. In these
circumstances failure as a result of inadequate investment is not