Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Minister’s clarification on outsourcing children’s services

I was pleased to see in Community Care that Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson, has said that there are “absolutely no plans” to turn children’s services over “wholesale to large companies with no expertise in this area”.

That sounds like a big relief. But it doesn’t stop me thinking that the government still needs to be much clearer about what the supposed advantages of limited outsourcing, of which Timpson is clearly in favour, would be.

I think that the obstacles to outsourcing parts of children's services are substantial, suggesting that any hoped for benefits would be hard to realise.

But most importantly we need to be a lot clearer about what kinds of service improvements are necessary, before we get involved in a lot of discussion about who is going to provide them.

How to improve services should be the focus of policy, not issues of organisation and ownership.