Friday, 14 October 2011

To merge or not to merge

Having recently congratulated three London boroughs for intending to merge their child protection services ( I now - with some embarrassment - read that child protection is specifically excluded from plans to merge services provided by the boroughs of Westminster, Kensington-and-Chelsea and Hammersmith-and-Fulham (

I am also disappointed by Andrew Christie's (who will be director of children's services for the three boroughs) reasoning behind this decision. The Guardian reports him as saying that councillors did not want major change in that area, on the grounds of risk. And he believes politicians are right to be very cautious about child protection.

But there is every reason to suppose that there is more risk in inaction than in change. I believe that in most places we need to make much more efficient and effective use of the child protection work force. Merger between councils is one way in which this can quickly be achieved. I urge the three boroughs to think again on this issue.