Cameron tells councils: ‘transform failing children’s services or have them taken over’
Prime Minister to use keynote speech to signal “more ambitious” programme of social work reforms
Councils who fail to ‘transform’ under-performing child protection services will have them taken over by external providers, David Cameron will say today.
In a speech setting out the government’s priorities for the Autumn spending review, in which plans to make £20bn of savings will be outlined, the prime minister will cite children in care and prisons as two “standout areas for reform” that are being damaged by a “tolerance of state failure”.
Cameron will say that change is required, whether “by breaking state monopolies, bringing in new providers or allowing new ways of doing things”. He will also commit to what Downing Street describes as “a more ambitious reform of social services and child protection” to be delivered by government departments, councils and charities.
“There will be a clear message to any local authority failing its children: transform the way you provide services, or those services will be taken over by non-profit trusts,” a Number 10 statement ahead of the speech said.
The government has already stripped some councils of responsibility for their children’s services in the wake of damaging Ofsted inspection reports.
Doncaster’s child protection services have been run by an independent not-for-profit company since last October and the government has told Slough council that responsibility for its children’s services will be handed to an independent trust. Improvement notices issued by the Department for Education to Somerset and West Berkshire councils have warned that a failure to address failings could see the government use its statutory to powers to dictate how children’s services are run.