160.Our inquiry asked whether the funding for local authorities’ children’s services is sufficient to enable councils to fulfil their statutory duties, deliver non-statutory duties and secure the long-term sustainability of this vital aspect of local authorities’ remit. It is clear that it is not. We heard about a system at breaking point, increasingly reliant on the goodwill of social care professionals. We cannot allow children’s services to become a ‘blue light’ service; the children supported by or in the care of councils are some of the most vulnerable in society and deserve better. We urge the Government to consider our conclusions and recommendations with this in mind.
161.Many of our proposals are rooted in the research of academics, local authorities and organisations which work directly with children; largely they are neither novel nor fundamentally complicated. However, they require local authorities to be adequately resourced and to be founded on a co-ordinated, long-term approach from central government. In the words of Professor Jones, “some of this is not rocket science, but also there are no magic bullets”.
Published: 1 May 2019