Councils are continuing to struggle to meet deadlines to implement the integrated children’s system, despite an original deadline being extended significantly.
A snapshot survey by Community Care of one-third of councils in England found most had not implemented phase 1b of the ICS, as required by 31 March this year.
Our survey of 50 councils found 17 had failed to implement phase 1b and 14 others had failed to do so just days before the deadline, although they said they expected to be compliant in time.
Originally, the ICS was due to be fully implemented by January 2007, but in November 2006 it was revealed that most councils were likely to miss the deadline. However, the then Association of Directors of Social Services criticised the government for failing to fully involve councils in the system and failing to provide a clear framework.
The government then introduced a phased implementation plan. Under phase 1b, councils are expected to ensure their ICS systems hold information including child protection plans for children who were previously on child protection registers, which were due to be abolished on 1 April.
Social workers must also record on the ICS system the process for assessing the well-being of privately fostered children.
After implementing this phase, councils must implement phases 1c and 2.