Charity chief accuses government of losing way on children’s services


Paul Ennals, the chief executive of the National Children’s
Bureau, claims the government is losing its way in its reforms of
children’s services, writes Derren

Ennals told the Community Care Live conference the government
was in danger of “snatching defeat from the jaws of
victory” because of its obsession with quick-fix policies,
lack of boldness in dealing with problems and increased reluctance
to listen to professionals.

He said that while much of what the government had done had been
positive, he was concerned services in the future could be shaped
by government departmental structures and not around the needs of
children and families. An example of this was the difficulty that
many organisations were having in implementing joined up working
practices at local levels.

“There’s been good joined up working in the past
five years, but that’s easier said than done. The reality at
a local level is that…unless Tony Blair or Gordon Brown give
it personal backing it doesn’t happen,” Ennals

He criticised the government for only considering initiatives
“that will deliver an outcome within 12 months”, and
added that the recent Anti-social Behaviour Bill breached human
rights legislation in its proposed penalties for young offenders.
He also said the children’s national service framework needed
targets rather than standards.

Ennals said the government wasn’t listening to social
services departments and care professionals because of a lack of
trust about what they have to say, which, over the past six months,
has manifested itself as a “reigning back” of its
willingness to consult with the sector.

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