Council to pursue alternative to trust

Manchester Council has confirmed it has no intention of
establishing a children’s trust, despite the key role set out for
trusts in the children’s green paper Every Child

Manchester was “not planning to join up in a formal way at this
point” said Pauline Newman, the council’s director of children,
families and social care.

“At this stage, what we are doing is implementing a series of
changes to the way we work with our partners which don’t require us
to become a children’s trust,” she said.

But children’s minister Margaret Hodge told a London conference on
rethinking children’s services this week that every local authority
would be expected to establish a children’s trust – preferably by
2006 – but that it would be “wrong” to legislate on the issue at
the moment.

“We will expect all of you to have children’s trusts in place, I
hope as early as 2006, although we recognise that you want some
flexibility around dates,” Hodge said.

Manchester Council has set itself a deadline of March 2005 for
establishing teams that bring together a range of professionals
from education, health and social services.

Newman said the aim was to focus on establishing these multi-agency
teams “rather than focus on making organisations formally join
together”, although there may be “an element of formal joining up”,
such as pooled budgets and protocols.

She said the council had made it clear in its response to the green
paper that it wanted local flexibility and to be able to carry on
with its current developments.

Association of Directors of Social Services president Andrew Cozens
said that directors had consistently called for local flexibility.

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