Children in need of help or support are, by definition, among the most vulnerable members of our society, often facing neglect or abuse. But, for far too long, services for the nearly 800,000 children in need of help or protection every year have not been good enough. In 2010, the Department for Education recognised that services had to improve and started to introduce a series of reforms. In 2011, the Munro review on improving the child protection system was published. But progress on improving help and protection services for children has been too slow and six years later only 23% of services are judged by Ofsted as Good. By no standards can this be seen as an improvement.
The Department seemed to us worryingly complacent that nothing can be done to improve services more quickly. The Department’s newly stated ambition to improve services by 2020 is welcome but the Department lacks a credible plan for how and by when it will make a difference and ensure that local authorities are intervening effectively to make a difference to these children’s lives. The Committee will continue to monitor the Department’s slow progress in improving children’s services and will return to the subject during the course of this Parliament.
15 December 2016