Social services chief gets top modernisation role

A former president of the Association of Directors of Social
Services has been appointed co-chairperson of an expert advisory
group, which will work with the newly appointed national director
for children’s healthcare services to modernise children’s health
and social care services.

The announcement was made by national director Al Aynsley-Green,
professor of child health at Great Ormond Street Hospital, at the
Department of Health this week.

Cheshire Council director of social services and ex-ADSS
president Jo Williams will co-chair the group with Royal College of
Paediatrics and Child Health president Professor David Hall.

Both Williams and Hall are also members of the Children’s
Taskforce and will work with Aynsley-Green and the DoH in drawing
up the group’s 31-strong membership of experts in the fields of
health and social care, education, management and the voluntary

“We need to bring health and social services closer together to
support children and their families,” commented Williams on her
appointment. “I shall be seeking to put the needs of children,
parents and carers at the centre of the group’s work on the

The group’s first task will be to work on standards of care for
children needing hospital treatment in England, which will comprise
the first module of a new National Service Framework for children,
said Aynsley-Green. The first module is due to be published next
year, with the full NSF expected to be published the following

The full NSF will develop national standards for children
covering their progress through the health system from initial
contact with the NHS, via GPs or hospitals, through to support from
social services departments.

But Aynsley-Green said his role was wider than just pure health
issues. Modernising children’s healthcare services would combine
the “four threads” of health, social care, education and
environment, he said. This would take into account the “life
chronology model” of the seven ages of childhood:fetus, neonate,
infant, pre-school, first school, adolescent, transition to

“The mission is to improve the lives and health of children and
young people through the delivery of appropriate, integrated,
effective and needs-led services,” he said, explaining that issues
such as maternity services and schools would also be a key part of
the NSF.

“There is a great deal to be done. We must believe that we can
make change happen. This demands passion coupled with discipline
and reality,” said Aynsley-Green. “We hope that our work will
rattle some cages.”

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