Exclusive: Draft government response to Laming report leaked to Community Care

Area child protection committees will be scrapped and the child
protection register phased out under proposals in the
children’s green paper, according to a government document
leaked to Community Care, writes Lauren

The draft of the government’s response to the Victoria
Climbie Inquiry and Joint Chief Inspectors reports, which will be
published as an annex to the green paper in the autumn, reveals
that ACPCs will be replaced by statutory “local safeguarding
children boards”.

These will sit beneath the children and young people strategic
partnerships – which will also be placed on a statutory
footing – and will be responsible for appointing a local
“screening group” to examine all
“unexpected” child deaths to determine which should be
subject to a serious case review.

Where serious case reviews are deemed necessary, they will be
carried out by teams appointed by the safeguarding children boards
that are independent of any of the local statutory organisations
involved in protecting children.

Children’s trusts – the first of which were
announced last week – will work with other organisations
through the strategic partnerships. The trusts will also aid closer
integration of frontline workers, who will be backed by new tools
such as the Identification, Referral and Tracking (IRT) systems and
unified assessments.

The social services contribution to IRT – the Integrated
Children’s System – is intended to enable information
gathered from the point of referral and during assessments to be
used more effectively in making plans and deciding what services to
provide, and in reviewing whether a child is making progress in
important areas of development such as education and health.

In the longer term, the draft says, this will allow staff to
identify children who have been the subject of child protection
concerns in the past, making the child protection register
“redundant” so it can be “phased out

Tied in with IRT, the green paper will propose the development
of a unified assessment process which would enable workers from any
agency to make an assessment which other organisations would then
use as the basis of their involvement with the child and

To support local integration, the government will also promise
in the green paper to rationalise performance indicators, plans and
targets, and will set out practice standards expected of each
agency in relation to children.

The draft document also says that, under green paper proposals,
responsibility for the inspection of all children’s services
will move to Ofsted, although these claims were vehemently denied
by a department of health spokesperson last week who insisted the
Social Services Inspectorate would continue to inspect
children’s social services.

Following criticisms about child protection not being included
within the four key priorities of the national policing plan, the
home office will commit to reviewing this situation before the next
plan is published.

On workforce reform, the green paper will set out proposals for
“a new, more coherent children’s workforce, which is
more flexible and responsive to children’s and families
needs, more closely linked to communities, and better

These will include “common occupational standards”
across a number of frontline roles, linked to modular
qualifications “which allow workers to move between jobs more
easily”. In an effort to improve consistency, there will also
be a common core of training for those who work solely with
children and families and for those who have wider roles, such as
GPs and the police.

The green paper will also propose the development of a
comprehensive pay and workforce strategy for those who work with
children, and a possible move to “multi-year pay
agreements” to support recruitment and retention and underpin
proposed measures to improve skills.

The government’s draft response to Lord Laming’s
recommendations and Safeguarding Children also gives a strong
indication that the green paper will focus heavily on preventative
measures, and specifically the development of support for parents
and families.

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