Charles Clarke

A radical shake-up of children’s services and how they are
delivered was announced by education secretary Charles Clarke in
the long-awaited children’s green paper, writes
Clare Jerrom.

The reforms outline the government’s response to Lord
Laming’s inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie and focus
on early intervention, accountability and integration, supporting
parents and carers and workforce reform.

Clarke said the proposals mark a turning point in the way we
protect and support children. “In the past there has been a
piecemeal approach to reform that has papered over the cracks but
left children at risk.”

“The tragic death of Victoria Climbie made us realise that
we simply can’t go on like this anymore,” he added.

Structural changes in the document ‘Every Child Matters’ to
ensure accountability include:-

• the creation of a post of director of children’s
services, accountable for local authority education and
children’s social services

• in the long term integrate key services for young people
under the director of children’s services as part of
children’s trusts, bringing together children’s social
services, local authority education and Connexions.

• creating an independent children’s

• creating an integrated inspection framework for
children’s services and Ofsted will take the lead in bringing
together joint inspection teams

• creating Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards as
successors to Area Child Protection Committees
 Social services, health and schools will support parents and
carers by providing information and advice where necessary.
Targeted and specialist support will be provided to those requiring
additional help and compulsory actions through parenting orders
will be used as a last resort.
To prevent children slipping through the net, as happened to
Victoria, the government plans to:-
• improve information sharing by removing legislative
barriers that can hinder communication between agencies

• allocate each child a single unique identity number

• develop a common assessment framework so every local
authority will identify a lead official responsible for ensuring
information is shared

• introduce a single named professional in each case where
children are known to more than one agency,

• develop on-the-spot-services encouraging professionals
to work in multi-agency teams based around schools and
children’s centres

The government wants to make working with children an
attractive, high status career and plans to tackle recruitment and
retention problems.

A children’s workforce unit, based in the Department for
Education and Skills will develop a pay and workforce strategy and
a common core of training for those working with children and
families will be introduced to help secure a consistent response to
children and families and a better understanding of professional

The consultation ends on 1 December, but Margaret Hodge, the
minister for children, young people and families told a press
briefing at the DfES that she hoped there would be legislation in
the coming session of parliament.

Every Child Matters’ from


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