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30 April 2024 - Children’s social care - Oral evidence

Committee Education Committee
Inquiry Children’s social care

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Start times: 9:30am (private) 10:00am (public)

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Safeguarding vulnerable disabled children: MPs to question experts and Ofsted 

The quality of social care available to disabled and vulnerable children will be examined by the Education Committee, with questions to charities, experts and Ofsted.

Meeting details

At 10:00am: Oral evidence
Inquiry Children’s social care
Campaign Manager at Disabled Children’s Partnership
Co-Chair at National Network of Parent Carer Forums
Chief Executive at Kids
At 11:00am: Oral evidence
Inquiry Children’s social care
National Director, Regulation and Social Care at Ofsted
Chair at Child Safeguarding Review Panel

The cross-party Committee will ask the first panel about the Government’s progress in implementing two sets of reforms, Stable Homes Built on Love and the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan, and whether the former contains enough focus on disabled children.

There will be questions about the possible impact that a lack of resources and residential accommodation, and workforce issues, may be having on disabled children who need care, as well as on families’ access to respite care. The Disabled Children’s Partnership, who are giving evidence in this session, pointed to a funding gap in 2021 of £573 million for disabled children’s services.

MPs will also look at the treatment of family carers under the social care system, including the adequacy of Personal Budgets and Direct Payments; whether the system is fair to parents with learning difficulties; local authorities’ role in supporting families; and whether there can be a presumption of failure aimed at parents of children who seek help from their local authority.

In panel 2, the Committee will turn to safeguarding practices. The Committee has previously heard evidence on disabled children’s vulnerability to being exploited or groomed by criminal gangs, and there are concerns about shortcomings in how effectively children are protected when placed in supported housing.

Supported housing is cheaper for local authorities to provide and affords greater independence to those aged 16 or over. But there are concerns that such accommodation does not come with enough oversight and care that vulnerable children require. However, more appropriate types of accommodation and the staff needed to support vulnerable children are in short supply.

There will also be questions regarding a “culture of abuse and harm” inside some residential homes, according to a report by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel. Ofsted, whose National Director of Social Care is giving evidence, will be asked about the inspectorate’s response to the findings, and about its approach to inspecting a range of children’s social care settings more broadly.

MPs will ask about the reported use of excessive restraint on looked after children – including with handcuffs – by secure transportation providers, and of unconscious biases in the care system towards some cohorts of children in care.


Room 15, Palace of Westminster

How to attend