‘Adoption template will highlight best practice locally’

The government is about to publish an “adoption template” highlighting good practice around the country, the children’s minister has revealed.

Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services conference, Tim Loughton said he had become frustrated by varying practice around the country and wanted to encourage authorities to “learn from each other”.

“Everything we need for a perfect adoption system is happening already, but in different parts of the country,” Loughton said. “It’s not rocket science. I want everyone to take the initiative and learn from each other to deliver better services.”

He said he was concerned about the “lack of sharing” among authorities. “Often I’ll find an excellent initiative happening in one local authority and discover the neighbouring authority has no idea about it. Why is that happening?” he asked.

The document, which Loughton said he would publish shortly, will highlight best practice, based on information gathered by the minister and civil servants following visits to adoption services around the country.

The minister also told delegates that he was carefully considering the recommendations made by Martin Narey, the government’s newly-appointed adoption tsar, in a report produced for The Times.

He said he would publish his response to the recommendations over the next few weeks.

Speaking to Community Care, Loughton said adoption remained a major priority for government but admitted that more needed to be done to determine how many  adoptions break down. “It is very difficult to get empirical evidence on this but there should be proper ways of tracking breakdowns,” he said.

The Department for Education is currently planning to investigate the subject, he said, adding that more detail would be available soon.

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