The government has been accused of “missing the point” of Lord Laming’s call for adequate safeguarding funding after its response to his report last week.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services and Local Government Association lambasted ministers’ failure to increase core funding for councils and other agencies, alongside the £58m social work transformation fund, available from 2009-11.
In his report in March, Laming made three recommendations on funding:
● That government ensure councils and agencies have protected budgets for child protection.
● That ministers resource councils to fund early intervention.
● A national annual report should be published reviewing safeguarding spend against assessed need in every area.
Although the Department for Children, Schools and Families has accepted Laming’s 58 recommendations, it said last week that children’s trusts – not government – should ensure safeguarding funding was adequate.
Of Laming’s call for an annual report, it pointed to the yearly reports that will be published by chief adviser on the safety of children Sir Roger Singleton from 2010, without specifying whether these would cover spending.
Debbie Jones, chair of ADCS’s resources and sustainability committee, said the government “misses the point Laming was trying to make” about resources.
“An increase in baseline funding allocations is needed,” she said.”There is nothing to indicate in the government’s response that that has been acknowledged, which implies we have to make do with what we’ve got.”
Jones warned that services would be at risk of cuts, should the national focus on safeguarding diminish.”I hope we won’t have to make the choice between supporting qualified social workers at the hard end and early intervention,” she said.
LGA programme director for children and young people Helen Johnston said the transformation fund did not go far enough.
She said the LGA was working to calculate the cost of implementing all of Laming’s proposals and would “seek discussions with the DCSF on that at the earliest opportunity”.
● All newly qualified statutory and voluntary sector practitioners to receive more support (September 2009).
● Experienced practitioners invited to become advanced social work professionals to remain on frontline (October 2009).
● 200 graduates sponsored to train as social workers in two-year course (September 2009).
● Former social workers supported to return through helpline (July 2009) and refresher training (September 2010).
● Practice-based masters degree in social work established (early 2011).
● More support for frontline managers.