Less bureaucracy, more collaboration: new book sets out the future for children's services
- Leading thinkers contribute to a collection of ideas on how to revolutionise children's services
- Key solutions include a review of the statutory frameworks, and the creation of a nationwide collaboration system
- Rethinking Children's Services is available here and from www.catch-22.org.uk/rethinking.
Catch22 and the National Children's Bureau (NCB) have today brought together some of the most influential figures - from government advisers, local authorities, academia and leading voluntary sector organisations - to contribute to a collection of essays, exploring new perspectives on how to do better for vulnerable children across the country.
The book has been designed to promote fresh thinking and practical ideas as children's services struggle against a backdrop of tightened budgets, increasing demand and mixed outcomes. Political and public scrutiny is at an all time high, with vulnerable children at the forefront of the policy agenda and public consciousness.
Edited by NCB's Enver Solomon, 'Rethinking Children's Services: Fit for the Future?' contains contributions from leading thinkers including Lord Warner, Sir Martin Narey, Louise Casey (DCLG), Professor Donald Forrester, Martin Pratt (Camden) , Donna Hall (Wigan) Michael Little (Dartington Social Research Unit) and Kathy Evans (Children England). The authors challenge traditional approaches, critique current practice and put forward a range of ideas for the transformation of children's social care for the next decade and beyond. Their suggestions include:
- Rethinking the commissioning, statutory and regulatory frameworks to allow differently qualified case workers to support social workers
- A new strategic focus on building long term relationships, rather than bureaucratic systems
- A reimagining of how we respond to children at risk
- A commissioning system which enables true co-production from both state and community led organisations, empowering young people and families to be active agents in their own solutions
- Initiatives which unlock capacity within local communities and businesses, including their buildings, personnel, philanthropy and skills
- The creation of a collaborative system that allows local authorities and third sector organisations to systematically share best practice and evidence in a coordinated way
Anna Feuchtwang, CEO of the National Children's Bureau, commented on the book:
"Caught up in the day to day pressures of supporting children and young people in need, it is easy to lose sight of the core values that underpin children's social care. Given the increasing demand for services, the constraints on funding, and the changing pressures facing children and their families, it is time to take a step back and consider new ways of working. These essays present brave and bold thinking on how services could be improved in the long-term.Most importantly, they embrace the urgent need for change and seek to positively challenge the status quo."
Chris Wright, CEO of Catch22,the social business, commented:
"It is nearly five years since Eileen Munro undertook her wide-reaching review of child protection, concluding that a new system must be more "child-centred". Five years on, it is worrying how little has changed. Services remain too transactional; children are too often passed from professional to professional, with boxes being ticked and paperwork filed.
"We must embrace this opportunity to develop different, less bureaucratic, and more efficient and more relational ways to deliver services and provide support. That means challenging the prevailing orthodoxies around how things must be done. Now is an important opportunity to take stock, revise the approach and refocus priorities on what really makes a difference to children's lives: relationships."