How devolution is affecting social care: Ann Baxter, director, England

Ann Baxter, director of children, schools and families at the London Borough of Camden, talks about her experiences.

“People have been shaken by high profile child deaths like Baby P and are concerned that practice is as good as it can be. They are more risk averse than they would have been this time last year. But good people are continuing to do good work and want to stay. I haven’t witnessed people leaving [child protection] and I think there’s a bit of an urban myth around this.

“The whole point is to learn from the serious case reviews [from these types of cases]. Many local authorities have systems to share this learning, but perhaps they haven’t been beefed up enough. It’s important that we continue to do that.

“The benefits of children’s social services being integrated with education is that children’s services now encompass all the five outcomes and it has broken down the historical boundaries with education. What we need to make sure is that we don’t have barriers with adults’ services because children don’t live in childrenland, they have families and most of the problems children have are because of adults. It’s about how we work together – it doesn’t mean we need structural solutions or changes.

“I have a social work background but I hope we can move away from what background people have, we need people who are committed to children’s services. And we need to stop obsessing about structures and get on and do the job.”


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