The Department for Education has appointed Josh MacAlister to advise on the implementation of the children’s social care review that he led.
It is paying MacAlister £32,000 for six months’ work, with the role having started on 1 June 2022, shortly after the care review reported, and running until 30 November. However, the contract for the work was formally awarded at the end of July and published by the government last month.
The DfE has pledged to issue its response to MacAlister’s review – and those of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson, and the Competition and Markets Authority’s into the children’s social care market – before the end of the year, alongside an implementation strategy. It is unclear whether this timetable will be affected by the imminent change of prime minister.
MacAlister’s role involves supporting the transition of the review’s work, relationships with stakeholders – including people with lived experience of children’s social care – and learning to the DfE, while working through the recommendations in detail with officials and supporting them to carry out a thorough assessment of his conclusions.
He will also advise on the contents of the implementation strategy, support the work of the implementation board – also set up to advise the DfE on the strategy – and provide “ongoing challenge and scrutiny on delivery and implementation plans”.
Under the terms of his contract, MacAlister – who founded fast-track provider Frontline in 2013 and was its chief executive until last year – cannot engage in any lobbying of government for the 12 months after the contract expires, though there will be no bar on him taking up any other paid work once it finishes.