Beverley Hughes departs with a thank-you to practitioners

Children’s minister Beverley Hughes, who is standing down in the forthcoming reshuffle and next general election, has praised the “hard work” of practitioners during her time in post.

Hughes wrote in a letter to Community Care today: “It has been an absolute pleasure and a real privilege to have spent these last four years of my ministerial career at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, working to drive forward a transformation in  the support, advice and services available to children and families – the effects of which, I hope, will continue to be felt for generations to come.”

She added: “I have very much appreciated your continued support for this and hard work highlighting the real issues that are important to frontline professionals working on the ground and the impact these issues have on children’s lives.”

Hughes called for the work on the government’s flagship Children’s Plan and Sure Start centres to continue, allowing “young people to have the best opportunities whatever their circumstances”.

Before entering parliament in 1997, Hughes was a probation officer and a lecturer in Manchester University’s department of social work.

Ed Balls’s response

Children’s secretary Ed Balls, tipped to succeed Alistair Darling as chancellor in the reshuffle, said Hughes had been an “outstanding” children’s minister and “champion” of her region as minister for the North West.

In a statement to Community Care today, he said: “I have really enjoyed working with Beverley over the last two years on the Children’s Plan, taking forward the Every Child Matters agenda and expanding opportunities for young people. I have learned a lot from her wise counsel and expertise, for which I am personally grateful.

“While I am sorry she has chosen to stand down, I very much understand the family reasons for Beverley’s decision. She will be hugely missed in her current role by this department and by the stakeholders she has worked with who I know have huge respect and admiration for all that she has achieved. But I know she will continue to take a close interest in the children’s agenda and has a great contribution to make in the future.”

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