A leading sector figure has called on children’s services to “go with” the coalition government’s proposed cuts to the public sector.
Sir Paul Ennals, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said that given the new government’s priority on bringing the deficit down immediately, it would be in the sector’s interest to “help craft these cuts”.
He said he had been encouraged by David Cameron’s first speech as prime minister, which emphasised that the government would “protect the vulnerable” and wanted to “take people with them” when making difficult decisions.
“I think there’s everything to play for because the thing about a coalition government is that manifestos go out the window – parties are no longer so tied to the pledges within them.”
He said the sector could “set up the barricades” on budgets, but he felt it would be better to instead “offer to go with the government and help to craft these cuts, ensure we own them and protect the important areas”.
According to Ennals, the sector should push for:
● ensuring money is found to protect some early intervention strategies.
● making sure frontline services are more “sensitive”.
● reduced use of specialist services – instead embedding them in the frontline.
● reducing duplication across agencies.
● unified planning and commissioning across agencies.
● reducing the burden of regulation, inspection, target-setting and output monitoring.