PM Announcement: Timescales, SCRs and LSCB Comment

Commenting further on the series of Prime Ministerial announcements made today, Monday 14th December, Alison O’Sullivan, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

On the timescales to improve children’s services

“Whilst we must never condone poor practice, the six month timescale for improvement is unrealistic. Real, effective change cannot occur within six or in some cases even 12 months. And whilst it is essential to take steps to act quickly where failure is identified, there is no one size fits all approach to remedying complex problems. Instead it is important to remember that structural change is expensive and takes time and energy to implement so should only be pursued when necessary. And we must take the time to find the right proportionate solution in each case so that where new models of delivering services are developed, they are able to improve whole systems.”

On the centralisation of Serious Case Reviews

“It is inconceivable that SCRs, as we know them, could be conducted centrally. Whilst the centralisation of SCRs might improve consistency it could reduce opportunities for local learning if not handled properly. Currently when reviews are conducted by local agencies many boards have an inclusive approach which involves different professionals working together to understand what has happened and developing improved ways of working. As a learning community we must make sure that this is not lost in the move towards centralisation. We look forward to more details of this move and to sharing our views.”

On Alan Wood’s role in leading the review of LSCBs

“We welcome Alan’s involvement in leading the review into the role and remit of LSCBs. As an acknowledged sector leader and a former President of the Association Alan has a great deal of knowledge and experience of working in the sector to make real improvements to services in both his own local authority and the wider sector.”


The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Ltd is the professional leadership association for Directors of Children’s Services and their senior management teams in England.

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