Narey backs stand on problem parents

The chief executive of Barnardo’s has backed compulsory measures for problem parents.

Martin Narey (pictured) told an event organised by political information website ePolitix that much could be done to avoid compulsion.

But he ultimately agreed with Louise Casey, the co-ordinator of the government’s Respect agenda, that it was sometimes necessary.

He said: “We owe it to the children concerned to say [to the parents] ‘you need help, you won’t take it, but you must take it’. At those times compulsion is necessary.”

Casey told the event there should be “no no-go areas” in working with socially excluded parents and that compulsory measures were needed to tackle child poverty.

“We have to be braver,” she said.

“Nobody is allowing anybody to have the debate about it [compulsory measures for parents] and I’m not going to shut up about it.”

● Meanwhile, the outgoing director of Barnardo’s Scotland fears increased commercialisation of the voluntary sector could damage the quality of services.

Hugh Mackintosh, speaking to Community Care for the first time since announcing he would retire next spring, said he was concerned about the increasing use of competitive tendering for council contracts.

He said: “I’m not convinced that path will provide better services. By everyone chasing contracts in the future there is a danger the emphasis will be on price rather than quality. I prefer to look at things in partnerships.”

In a separate development , Barnardo’s Scotland and the Fostering Network have criticised the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Bill, which has just started its passage through the Scottish parliament,for failing to do enough to promote fostering services.

The charities fear that fostering issues are being frozen out of the bill because the executive plans to publish a fostering strategy later this year. They say this will not have the same weight as legislation.

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