Comment on CMA study of children’s social care

Commenting on the launch of the Competition and Markets Authority’s study on children’s social care provision, Steve Crocker, Chair of the ADCS Standards, Performance & Inspection Policy Committee said:

“ADCS welcomes the CMA’s focus on children’s social care provision and the rising costs of placements for children in care. Children looked after deserve the very best care that meets their needs and gives them the opportunity to thrive in life.

“Children’s services have long operated in a mixed economy with private, voluntary, charitable and community providers involved in the delivery of services locally. However, multi-million-pound mergers between providers are becoming commonplace and private equity is driving rapid changes in ownership, financial models and service delivery. This has created an unacceptable level of risk in the system. Indeed, it is important to note that this is not a placements market, local authorities are the sole purchasers of these services.

“It is wrong that private companies are able to generate significant profits on the back of vulnerable children. This is difficult to reconcile as the impact of a decade of austerity continues to bite in local government alongside the impact of the pandemic. The CMA’s study, along with the recently launched Care Review, presents an opportunity to address these significant concerns. The system must be driven by children’s needs, not maximising profits.”


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