Councils were challenged today to each spend £10,000 to support A National Voice, the care leaver-led organisation designed to promote young people’s involvement in care services.
Hilton Dawson, chief executive of children’s services provider Shaftesbury Young People, asked whether any authority could be deemed excellent if it did not refer children in its care to A National Voice.
He told the National Children and Adult Services Conference: “It’s a tremendous organisation but it’s run on a shoestring. If local authorities contributed to A National Voice we would have a much more powerful organisation than we have now.”
The session on service user involvement had earlier heard from two of A National Voice’s trustees, Lucy Smith and Johnny Hoyle, both of whom are care leavers and involved in running the Leading Improvements for Looked-After Children project.
Under the scheme, which is also backed by the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Fostering Network and Social Care Institute for Excellence, young people assess the quality of involvement in local authority care services by children in care.
Smith said that the project has successfully assessed two councils – West Sussex and York – but needed more funding to sustain itself for another two years.
She said that its eventual ambition was to set up a “kitemark” for council services.