The All Party Parliamentary Group for Children (APPGC) published the findings of their latest Inquiry into children’s social care services in England in March 2017.
The report, ‘No Good Options’, pulls together information obtained throughout the duration of the Inquiry which ran from February 2016 to January 2017. As part of the Inquiry, the APPGC held 7 oral evidence sessions (including one private closed session) and received 62 written submissions from local authorities, academics, statutory bodies, local safeguarding children’s boards and the voluntary sector.
This Inquiry brought together evidence about the current resourcing of children’s social services and changes in the nature and level of demand, to improve our understanding of the challenges facing under-performing children’s services, and how to address them. ‘No Good Options’ has identified key areas in which improvement is essential if children’s services are to reach all children and young people in need of support and made the following recommendations to government.
- Conduct a review of resourcing of social care services.
- Incentivise investment in early intervention and prevention.
- Strengthen duties on schools, health services, police and other agencies, in the context of the new local safeguarding partnership arrangements.
- Consult on a review of the current framework for supporting ‘children in need’.
- Commission an independent Inquiry into variation in access to children’s services across England, and the impact on outcomes for vulnerable children.
- Develop a strategy to reduce churn in the children’s social work system.
- Require all local authorities to sign a regional memorandum of understanding on the payment of locum staff.
- Support and incentivise local authorities to improve participation practices so that vulnerable children play a meaningful role in their care.
- Children’s participation entitlements, including to advocacy and support from Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs), should be protected.
- Adopt a more flexible approach to intervening in failing children’s services.
- Develop an outcomes framework for children’s social care to help drive practice improvement.
- Work with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) to establish a national program for developing senior leaders and a ‘buddying’ system whereby failing local authorities partner with outstanding counterparts.
If you would like any further information about the Inquiry, please contact Sarah-Jane James: SJames@ncb.org.uk