Barnardo’s voices green paper worries

The senior director of children’s charity Barnardo’s last week made
a plea to the government to make sure that the children at risk
green paper did not “get caught in the maelstrom of other papers
and gather dust”.

Speaking at a Community Care conference on the implications of the
Victoria Climbi’ Inquiry, Roger Singleton said he hoped the green
paper, due out in the summer, would “give people an opportunity to
influence services in the future”.

He added that it was not possible to design a system that would
protect vulnerable children without an overarching system concerned
with the outcomes for all children.

Singleton questioned whether the government’s Children and Young
People’s Unit was achieving what it had set out to, pointing to its
failure to address the “plight of refugee children” and criticising
the plethora of initiatives for children such as Sure Start and
Connexions for failing to work together.

“We are already suffering from a bombardment of initiatives, which
are unco-ordinated,” he said.

Singleton also responded to some of the recommendations within Lord
Laming’s report into the death of Victoria Climbi’, in which senior
managers were criticised for their ignorance of what was happening
in front-line services.

He said he was not convinced that “walking the shop floor”
constituted understanding by managers of what was happening on the
front line, and urged Westminster to reassess the idea of a
children’s commissioner, who “could evaluate the effectiveness of
policies for children without political interference”.

Singleton said that the idea needed to be “explored a lot more
thoroughly” before it went ahead.

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