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FCYP and WD Policy Committee Updates September 2016

The Workforce Development Policy Committee (WDPC) and the Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee (FCYP) held a joint meeting on 10th June. The committee welcomed representatives from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to discuss the cross-government Life Chances strategy, and in particular how parents and parental relationships can be better supported and the potential to develop local family offers. The committee felt strongly that the government’s welfare reforms are having a devastating impact on some families and leading to increased pressures on parents. The sanctioning regime in place further compounds this and places an extra burden on local authorities via the section 17 duty. Although DWP is keen to move away from a focus on income as a measure of poverty, the committee was clear that for families, the worry associated with a lack of financial means can be traumatising for people and lead to a wider range of issues which require intervention. The committee explained that work is already taking place locally on this agenda and anything that is developed at a national level must seek synergy with local programmes. The group felt strongly that the language of intervention/ programmes can be stigmatising so this needs to be universal and accessible to all to reduce the risk of stigma.

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) also attended the committee to provide an update on their review of early years programmes which support parent child interaction. The review has tested 100 programmes across three outcome categories: attachment, behaviour and cognitive development. Each programme has been assessed against the strength of evidence of impact and allocated a cost rating. The review has now been published along with a commissioning guide.

Outside of the meeting schedule both committees continue to be active. The WDPC recently responded to the consultation on the knowledge and skills statement for achieving permanence. Both committees ran workshops at the ADCS annual conference and social work reform featured as a plenary session. FCYP is also leading on the Association’s response to the consultation on mandatory reporting.

The next meeting of the WDPC is a joint meeting with the Educational Achievement Policy Committee on 23rd September. The next meeting of FCYP is on 22nd September.

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