President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services Marion Davis said a sector-led approach to service improvement was the only way to ensure government cuts did not hurt the most vulnerable children and families.
Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services conference in Manchester today, Davis said this approach would “help to mitigate the possibility that less government prescription would result in a postcode lottery” in the quality of services. She said directors needed to stand their ground and show “strong moral leadership” to prevent disastrous results.
“Not only are children’s services departments, like all local authority services, experiencing the sharpest budget cuts in living memory, but directors of children’s services are also awaiting the outcome of a number of reviews that could fundamentally change the way some of our core work is delivered on the frontline,” she said.
Davis said the impact of the comprehensive spending review, the long-term effect of the rising number of children in care and the impact of the economic crisis on families were yet to be seen. She added that directors were facing a very big challenge in re-modelling the way local authorities provide services.
“We can’t afford to do what we do now, but we can’t afford not to, in other ways,” she said. “I don’t think it’s about doing more with less – I think it’s about doing things differently and aspiring to do things better.
“Making the most of these changes will require strong leadership and some very courageous conversations with colleagues in local government to get the best deal for children and young people.”
Full coverage of the NCAS conference
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