Sir Martin Narey will lead an independent review into children’s residential care, the Prime Minister has announced today.
Narey, the head of the government’s adoption leadership board, government advisor on children and author of an independent review into social work education, will report to the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, and David Cameron on the state of residential care homes for children.
This is so the government “can take every possible step to give these children the best start in life”, Cameron told the House of Commons.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron responded to a question on how he would follow up his speech at the Conservative Party conference, where he pledged to fix the care system.
The review will look at the role of children’s homes within the care system, exploring when – and for which children – homes should be used, what works within residential care, and how to improve outcomes for the young people who live in them, and what improvements could be made to the way that residential care homes are commissioned, delivered, regulated and inspected.
Excellent public servant
The Prime Minister said the “most important” thing government could do is speed up adoption so more children can be adopted, and make sure that recent judgements – Re B and Re B-S, which have been linked to a drop in placement orders – did not harm the rise in adoptions that had happened since he was elected in 2010.
“For those who can’t be adopted we need to make sure that our residential care homes do the best job they can and that is why today I can announce that I have asked the former chief executive of Barnardo’s, Sir Martin Narey, who’s an excellent public servant who I worked with when he was at the Home Office, to conduct an independent review of children’s residential care,” Cameron told the House of Commons.
Narey said: “I am delighted to accept this commission. Some of the best social work I’ve seen has taken place in residential homes, carried out by some outstanding staff. And yet there are doubts about whether we use residential care for the right children and frequent disquiet about children’s transitions to adulthood.”
The Independent Children’s Home Association welcomed the review, and hoped it will lead to “radical change”.
“This is a great opportunity for residential child care to shine…The sector will hope the review will be able to see the cumulative and crushing pressures placed upon [it] and evaluate how the resilience can be regained,” said Jonathan Stanley, chief executive of the association.
“Radical change is needed for children’s services and this lights the blue touchpaper for the national strategy that [has] been long needed.”