Tuesday, 16 July 2013


It is difficult to know what effect stripping Doncaster Council of its children social care responsibilities for up to ten years will have.  

Children and Young People Now also reports that Michael Gove’s decision to have the troubled department run by an independent trust will bring to a very premature end the Council’s contract with consultants Impower, who had been chosen in a £1.8 million deal to help the Council reinvigorate its failing children’s social care services. http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1077535/doncaster-brings-impower-fix-childrens-services 

Ripping it all up and starting again seldom turns out to be the right decision. On the other hand, outsourcing the service can also result in outsourcing its problems. Certainly I can’t see how Doncaster Council will ever be in a position to take the service back in-house, especially if it loses as much as ten years experience while the service is run by another organisation.

A great deal turns on how ‘independent’ and how ‘accountable’ the new trust will be. These are complex issues that are discussed, in my view inconclusively, in the report recommending this solution. http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/safeguardingchildren/a00223342/improving-childrens-care-doncaster 

Existing staff and systems will be transferred to the new organisation, but they will work to a new board comprising some representation from both the Council and central government.  Will that work satisfactorily? Who knows? 

My view is that these are uncharted waters. While it will be interesting to see what happens in Doncaster, it will inevitably be an uncertain and risky future. Let’s just hope that children and young people benefit rapidly from the changes and do not suffer as a result of them.