The government’s first chief adviser on the safety of children has said ensuring policies support rather than hinder joint working will be one of his top priorities.
Sir Roger Singleton, whose role was created following Lord Laming’s child protection review, published this month, said the failure of agencies to work together was a common theme linking safeguarding failures, including child deaths, over the past three and a half decades.
The Independent Safeguarding Authority chair, who takes up his new role on 1 April, said: “There’s something in the way that the different bureaucracies, whether it’s children’s services or health or police, organise things that gets in the way of joint working. I’d like a test about any policy [to be introduced] which says ‘is this going to get in the way of collaborative working or is it going to promote it?’.”
One of Singleton’s first tasks will be helping the government formulate its response to Laming’s report, due by the end of next month, which will look at how his 58 recommendations, all of which the government has accepted, can be made a reality.
Singleton will also be tasked with helping set up the new National Safeguarding Delivery Unit, which will provide central leadership for the government’s safeguarding priorities, monitor performance and support agencies to deliver.
He said that he would not be running the unit, given the advisory nature of his role, and said a key task for it would be to bring coherence to the raft of current policy initiatives on safeguarding.
Following concerns that the unit may “micro-manage” councils, Singleton said: “The fundamental thing is about improvement. It’s not about central government takeover or micro-management.”
Singleton was talking to Community Care ahead of the publication today of his government-commissioned review into the quality of safeguarding in independent, boarding and non-maintained special schools.
The review is due to be published at midday.
Ed Balls accepts all of Lord Laming’s recommendations