Friday, 14 September 2012

Proposed three way merger

I read in Children and Young People Now that three councils in the north east of England are planning to merge the management of children’s social care.

Let’s hope that Darlington, Hartlepool and Redcar & Cleveland councils will include child protection services in the merger.

I am a firm believer in neighbouring local authorities, especially small ones, co-operating in the provision of child protection. Perhaps they could start off by setting up a MARU for the combined area – see my previous post.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

MARUs - a good idea?

Multi-agency referral units (MARUs) have always seemed to me to be a good initiative. The idea is that police, children’s services, health and other agencies work together in a single team to receive referrals about abuse and neglect.

The MARU in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough also deals with adult abuse and domestic violence. The Peterborough Telegraph quotes a senior police officer as saying that the unit reduces bureaucracy, shares special skills and promotes integrated working.

A formal evaluation would be helpful. This is an idea which could be generalised throughout the UK if it is proven to be as successful as early reports appear to indicate.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Whoops, got it wrong

Ignore my previous post, now deleted. It's Edward Timpson, not Liz Truss, who will be taking on Tim Loughton's responsibilities as junior children's minister.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Change of Children's Minister

While I probably don’t share much political common ground with Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP who has just lost his job as Children’s Minister in David Cameron’s government reshuffle, I do feel a sense of shock that some-one who has such a firm and sensible grasp of his brief should have been brushed aside.

In his role as Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton not only understood a range of complex issues, but he was an extremely good listener. By far the most sensible Children’s Minister to date, he will be sorely missed from this role.

Tim was instrumental in getting rid of ContactPoint. He oversaw the Munro Review and has been involved in implementing its sensible recommendations. He has always demonstrated a good understanding of the perspectives of social workers and other front line practitioners; and, more importantly, of the needs and aspirations of children and young people.

I sincerely hope that at some future time his knowledge of children’s policy, his commitment and his balanced and systematic approach, will be made use of in government again.

Whoever steps into his shoes (not announced at the time of writing) will face a huge challenge to do this very difficult job as well as Tim has done.