DfE appoints MacAlister to advise on care review implementation

Review lead and former Frontline chief will support officials in drawing up plans to implement his recommendations, in contract worth £32,000 over six months

Care review lead Josh MacAlister
Care review lead Josh MacAlister

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.


8 Responses to DfE appoints MacAlister to advise on care review implementation

  1. Jobs For The Boys September 1, 2022 at 4:07 pm #

    Jobs for the boys….

    This business makes me incandescent with rage.

  2. A real social worker September 2, 2022 at 6:48 am #

    Every social worker and team manager I know and in particular those who gat been around a long time feel his ideas won’t work. Why on earth ihas McAllister been chosen to ‘work through the recommendations in detail with officials supporting them to carry out a thorough assessment of his conclusions’ – is this a joke? Do I really need to spell it out how ridiculous that sounds? He’s obviously going to think his own half-baked ideas are wonderful. They are not. Getting rid of the IRO role is only going to make children’s lives more unsafe with no independent oversight and challenge. Even team managers who are sometimes clash with IRO’s recognise that they’re vital! I really worry about his ideas and the outcomes for children aren’t going to improve. The only decent suggestion as far as I can see is to pay social workers more but for many it’s about the conditions the extremely long working hours not the money and I’m not convinced that we will see reduced caseloads As for the IRO ‘s we may just lose those who have years of experience through this. .

    • Sean Hayes September 2, 2022 at 1:34 pm #

      Thank you Sean

  3. frasierfanclub1 September 2, 2022 at 1:24 pm #

    This government appears to believe that social work will be safe in the hands of dodgy entrepeneurs in shiny suits.

  4. Eddie O'Hara September 2, 2022 at 5:48 pm #

    Another sad day for the social work profession and the people it serves!

  5. Robert Browning September 2, 2022 at 9:57 pm #

    If we needed any further evidence that this Government and its representatives live in a different world to the rest of us, then this is surely it!

  6. Craig September 5, 2022 at 3:55 pm #

    Footballer misses 27 penalties on the trot but is still asked to advise on how to take successful penalties. Learning from failure or blind trust that competence and skill is tantalisingly within grasp if given yet another opportunity.

  7. Denise Gilley September 22, 2022 at 11:15 am #

    The role of the IRO is vitally important and becoming more recognised through the Family Court system as such. However that said and as an IRO I do believe we should be placed outside the LA’s to ensure complete independence.