National Audit Office Report on Children in Need of Help and...

Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“The work undertaken by councils with children in need of help and protection is hugely complex and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. As leaders of children’s services we are committed to providing high quality help and protection to all children and young people so that they can live happy and fulfilling lives but worryingly this report finds that children in some parts of the country are not afforded the same help and protection as in others. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency and could be achieved, in part, by bringing forward the development of the government’s new ‘what works centre’ in children’s social care to help systematically identify and embed good practice across the country.

“It is well known that since 2008 demand for children’s social care has continued to grow with no equivalent growth in budget, placing children’s services in local areas under immense pressure. Councils have worked hard to minimise the impact of these pressures on local communities by redesigning and reshaping services to target areas of most need, but still cuts to early help and preventative services have been necessary to balance the books. If this pattern of demand continues to grow the most vulnerable will be left at risk.

“The UK has one of the safest child protection systems in the developed world yet the results of the SIF inspections undertaken to date suggest that the majority of authorities are not yet good enough. This is not credible. We believe this framework does not get to the heart of how well services are working, and, with a single worded judgement it tells a partial and excessively negative story. We have no difficulty being held to public account, and where the evidence is clear that an authority is failing, robust action must be taken to secure rapid improvement.”


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