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ADCS is a member-led organisation. Our strength and credibility is derived from the involvement of members. We want to ensure the leadership voice of local authority children’s services departments is heard on the national stage.

Policy Committees

All members of ADCS are eligible to join and contribute to the work of our six national policy committees. This is where we consider all aspects of children’s services policy and practice. In 2019 we were joined by various reps from the DfE, MHGLC, NHS England, PHE, DHSC, the NAO, Social Work England, the EIF, the Youth Custody Service and Ofsted as well as academics.

Our national committees also lead on the development of consultation responses and submissions of evidence to inquiries as well as ADCS policy position papers. In spring 2019 we published a paper on the wider children’s workforce, in the summer a discussion paper on serious youth violence and in the autumn a paper on how the health care system. Each committee meets on a quarterly basis, usually in London:

Educational Achievement looks at all aspects of education from the early years to FE, skills and training plus assessment, school improvement and standards. This group is chaired by Gail Tolley, DCS Brent and supported by Matt Cunningham, Policy Officer.

28 January 2020 (London); 4 May (London); 18 September (Manchester); 3 December (London).

Families, Communities & Young People covers safeguarding, youth work, youth justice, child poverty, family justice, preventative services and the early years. This group is chaired by Sara Tough, DCS Norfolk and supported by Katy Block, Policy Officer.

31 January 2020 (London); 13 May (London); 25 September (London); 27 November (London).

Health, Care & Additional Needs looks at all forms of permanence, SEND and the health and wellbeing of children and families. This group is chaired by Charlotte Ramsden, DCS Salford and supported by Esther Kavanagh Dixon, Senior Policy Officer.

31 January 2020 (London); 7 May (London); 18 September (Manchester); 1 December (London).

Resources & Sustainability covers all aspects of funding for children’s services, commissioning, school place planning, capital and admissions. This group is chaired by Matt Dunkley, DCS Kent and supported by Esther Kavanagh Dixon, Senior Policy Officer.

28 January 2020 (London); 20 May (London); 30 September (London); 1 December (London).

Standards, Performance & Inspection covers the breadth of inspection activity, Regional Improvement and Innovation Alliances, intervention, data and performance management. This group is chaired by Steve Crocker, DCS Hampshire and Isle of Wight and supported by Katy Block, Policy Officer.

11 February 2020 (London); 4 May (London); 30 September (London); 27 November (London).

Workforce Development takes in professional standards and registration, training, qualifications and workforce planning. This group is chaired by Rachael Wardell, DCS Merton and supported by Matt Cunningham, Policy Officer.

14 February 2020 (London); 7 May (London); 25 September (London); 27 November (London).

We’re particularly keen to diversify regional representation on our national groups so that our engagements with government, and others, accurately reflect the state of play in local areas as they develop new policies and guidance, for example. If you would like to find out more about a specific group, please get in touch with the relevant ADCS policy officer directly

Did You Know…?

The Association is a company limited by guarantee. It provides a collective voice for those leading local authority children’s services, offers practical and professional advice to policymakers highlighting the reality of implementing new initiatives and provides a national forum for developing policy ideas.

Policy Leads

There is a wealth of knowledge and experience amongst the ADCS membership.

Policy leads enable ADCS to be represented on a variety of national groups, covering all areas relevant to children and young people. Policy leads are supported by the ADCS policy committees, policy officers and the wider staff team.

If you would like to get involved email
Each of the nine English regions is represented on the Council of Reference. Council acts as a consultative body working with the ADCS Board of Directors to lead the governance and policy direction of the Association.

Representing Your Region

If you would like to get involved email
All DCSs are eligible to stand for election as Vice President, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer or Chair of a policy committee.

Stand for Election

Any Ordinary Member can stand to be an Elected Director on the ADCS Board of Directors.

How Do We Do It?

By working with ministers, senior civil servants, Ofsted and other inspectorates, Local Government Association, Solace, ADASS, the community and voluntary sectors and other key national partners to ensure that the voice of professionals in children’s services is heard loud and clear.

By giving evidence to parliamentary inquiries and by responding to formal and informal consultations.

By being represented on over 100 external national groups.

By voicing the perspectives of our members in the trade and in the national press and through policy position papers.

If you would like to get involved email