Laming tells directors lack of cash should not frustrate reform

Lord Laming has denied that a huge injection of cash is needed
to implement the 108 recommendations in his report into the death
of Victoria Climbie, writes Sally

Giving evidence to the House of Commons health select committee,
he rejected criticisms by the Association of Directors of Social
Services that much more money would be needed to meet the
recommendations in the 400-page document.

He told the influential group of MPs that although he accepted
that social services departments had been under-resourced for many
years, there was enough money in the system to act on the majority
of his proposals.

He added that there was a tendency for people to try to solve
problems by saying more money was the answer without providing

Asked if it was a case of “less whingeing and more getting on
with the job”, Laming replied that it was.

However, he added that the self-audit of each social services
department is currently carrying out, would show if more money was

Criticisms by the ADSS that the proposed children and families
board to ensure greater accountability for children’s
services in local authorities did “not sit easily” with the new
local government structures, were also dismissed by Laming.

The argument put forward by the ADSS “doesn’t convince me
in the slightest”, he said, adding “it is just another example of
people being worried about internal processes and not about
outcomes for children”.

Laming also made clear that he was not advocating the creation
of a children’s commissioner.

Committee chairperson David Hincliffe MP asked why Laming had
not given a clearer emphasis to such a role “which has worked very
well in Wales”, but Laming said he did not believe that a
commissioner could achieve his objectives.

He added that he envisaged the role as one that would be
accountable for good delivery of services, and would have “teeth”,
rather than be an advocate of children’s rights.

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