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Government ‘too slow to improve child protection services’

Public Account Committee says DfE must end complacency over children at risk of harm

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report in which it has found that there is no credible plan to improve child protection services and grow quality social work force.

The Government is too slow to act to improve child protection services and must set out detailed plans to transform them, the Committee says.

In the report, the Committee concludes that progress since the Munro report was published in 2011 has been too slow, with less than a quarter of services judged by Ofsted as 'good' — "by no standards" an improvement.

The Committee warns variations in the quality and consistency of help and protection services is leaving children at risk of harm and stresses the need for urgent action to address this.

In particular, Government should explain how it will ensure minimum standards so that all children have equal access to high-quality services.
The Committee does not believe that the Department for Education has a credible plan to improve the system by 2020 and finds it still has no evidence of what works.

It urges the Department to "set out detailed plans, including a timetable and resources, for how it will work with local authorities to transform services" and also set out plans to improve the sharing of best practice.The Department should work with Ofsted to get more timely assurance on the quality of children's services, and explain how it will better intervene to prevent problems identified locally from escalating.

It should also set out "how it will attract more high calibre people to social work and how it will ensure that training and assessment is relevant to their work".

The Report states:

"Despite some excellent practice, there is a problem with the competency and capability of too many social workers, and not enough good people to help improve services faster."

To read the report, click here.