Lord Laming proposes new structures for children’s services

The government’s response to the Laming inquiry into the
death of Victoria Climbié will form part of the forthcoming
Green Paper on children’s services. The Green Paper was
announced last October but is not now expected before April.

Laming made more than 100 recommendations in his report,
including proposals for a new national agency for children and
families in England within the next two years. This would advise a
children and families board at the heart of government to be
chaired by a Cabinet minister.

Within the next six months Laming proposes local management
boards for children and families to replace area child protection
committees. The changes are designed to create a clear line of
accountability for protecting children.

Meanwhile, new guidance inviting agencies to apply to become
children’s trust pilots has been published. Children’s
trusts aim to bring together services working with children within
one organisational structure, and could provide as well as
commission services. They will be led by, and form part of, local
authorities, and will use the powers of the Health Act 1999 to pool
budgets between local authorities and health trusts.

But one objective is to find new ways to enlist the community,
private and voluntary sectors in providing services, according to
the guidance. They will be expected to be a vehicle for delivering
local preventive strategies that all local authorities must have in
place by April 2003.

Selected pilots will get between £60,000 and £100,000
a year for “pump-priming”. Pilots will run for three years.

– More information at  www.doh.gov.uk/childrenstrusts/

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