Child protection ‘needs new agency’

Overall responsibility for child protection should be taken away
from social services departments and handed to a new agency,
according to a senior figure at independent think tank the
Institute for Public Policy Research.

Liz Kendall, associate director at the institute, said there were
compelling arguments for creating a separate agency accountable
directly to government ministers.

The move would help address the lack of co-ordination between
different agencies and the variation in service delivery across the

“It is questionable whether we want to see variation on an issue as
sensitive as child protection,” she told a Local Government
Association meeting last week.

But Mike Leadbetter, outgoing president of the Association of
Directors of Social Services, described Kendall’s proposals as “a
recipe for a nightmare”. He said: “I’m sure a number of directors
might welcome [health secretary] Alan Milburn being held
responsible for child deaths. But it’s simply not practical because
of the division between protection and prevention.”

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