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Implementation of Children’s social care strategy unambitious and slow, says Lords Committee

25 May 2023

The Public Services Committee has published its new report, responding to the Government’s Strategy to reform children’s social care, 'Stable homes built on love: implementation strategy and consultation: Children’s Social Care Reform 2023'. The Committee finds that the Strategy has the right approach to tackle the issues with children’s social care but falls short in delivering the radical reset that is needed.

The report

The Strategy lacks the scale, ambition, funding and pace to have any immediate benefit with most children, families and staff involved with children’s social care experiencing little benefit from changes made until several years from now. There is no guarantee of any long-term reform.

This is one of the significant conclusions of a report by the House of Lords Public Services Committee published today; 'A response to the Children’s Social Care Implementation Strategy'.

The Committee felt that the Government must not waste the opportunity to implement the far-reaching reform required: it must go further, faster, and ensure that all involved see some benefit soon.

Conclusions and recommendations

Other conclusions and recommendations include:

  • The Committee finds that the voices of children and young people are often not heard when decisions are made about their care. The Strategy proposes the use of advocacy services to combat this. But these services must be fully independent and able to hold local authorities to account.
  • There is not enough in the Strategy on recruiting additional staff to support those already performing demanding roles in difficult circumstances. Without more ambitious recruitment targets, the objectives of the Government's reforms will not be achieved.

Chair's quote

Baroness Morris of Yardley, Chair of the Public Services Committee said:

“The children’s care system is in crisis and while the Government’s Strategy is a step in the right direction, it falls short of delivering the immediate real time benefits to children and families that we need. The Strategy is a golden opportunity, but it could be wasted.

"Vulnerable young people are being failed by the system. There are shortages of every kind of care, and children are being placed in settings that do not work for them. This is untenable. As one young person we spoke to told us: ‘I am a person not a number’.

“The Government's plan has much to recommend it, but unless the proposals go further and faster, the Strategy will leave many children behind. While we accept that not every reform can be introduced everywhere immediately, the Government must ensure that all children and families engaged in the care system see some immediate benefit and can be sure that significant improvements and reform will follow.

“We’ve made a number of recommendations which the Government must follow if it wants to implement the fundamental reforms required to deliver an operationally effective system and prevent a worsening of the current crisis."

Further information