Platt seeks clarity on children’s trusts

Denise Platt, shadow chairperson of the Commission for Social Care
Inspection, has urged the government to allay fears that integrated
children’s services projects will need to be dismantled if they do
not conform to the green paper’s model of children’s trusts.

In an exclusive interview with Community Care, Platt said she was
aware of a lot of councils in England with successful integrated
services that were under the impression they would be forced to
start again, following the inclusion of more prescriptive guidance
on children’s trusts in the green paper.

Earlier guidance on the trusts, issued by the Department of Health
when the 35 pathfinders were announced in July, was much less
specific, simply defining trusts as bringing together “some or all”
services provided by children’s education, health and social
services within one organisational structure. Consequently, many
children’s trust pilots and other integrated projects have focused
on specific user groups.

Platt said she was sure that the dismantling of good services was
not what the green paper intended. She called on the government to
heed the lessons of the pathfinders and emphasise in legislation
resulting from the green paper the importance of outcomes rather
than specifying a single way of achieving them.

She called on the government to “give the service reassurance” over
the narrower definition in the green paper, and said that she hoped
it was simply “an issue of clarification”.

“The government needs to make it clear that it doesn’t want good
structures being dismantled for the sake of it,” she added.

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