Government accused of allowing ‘back door’ privatisation of child protection

Government accused of allowing ‘back door’ privatisation of child protection

Private companies will be able to deliver child protection services under controversial government plans via the “back door” by setting up separate subsidiaries, it has been claimed.

Just last week the government announced that only non-profit organisations will be allowed to deliver child protection services as part of efforts to give councils more freedom in the way they work with vulnerable children. But details of the proposed changes laid down in parliament reveal that profit-making companies will not be prevented from “setting up a separate non-profit making subsidiary to enable them to undertake such functions”.

Source: CYPnow

Four out of five head teachers in England are concerned about pupils in their schools suffering from anxiety disorders

Four out of five head teachers in England are concerned about pupils in their schools suffering from anxiety disorders, a survey by school leaders’ network The Key has found. A poll of more than 1,131 heads found 64 per cent saw pupil depression as a concern, while 80 per cent of secondary school heads expressed concern about self-harming, the BBC reports.

Source: CYPNow

The Welsh Government has published the year 2 evaluation report of their Families First programme

The Welsh Government has published the year 2 evaluation report of their Families First programme which is designed to improve outcomes for children and young people through prevention and early intervention. It includes updates on the following areas: implementations; management and governance; changes in systems and process; family outcomes; and what works in Families First delivery.
Source: Welsh Assembly Government 12 June 2014
Further information:
Evaluation of Families First: Year 1 report
   Evaluation of Families First: Year 2 report (PDF)

One in six authorities to face multi-agency inspections

One in six authorities to face multi-agency inspections

Up to 25 local authorities will be judged on their multi-agency child protection arrangements under new inspections being introduced in April 2015, it has been announced.

Under proposals published today, Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and where appropriate, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons will work together on targeted “integrated” inspections. The new inspections will run alongside Ofsted’s current three-year cycle for its single inspection framework for rating children’s services – which was introduced in November 2013 and is due to be completed in November 2016. The proposals mark the end of a year-long delay in the inspectorates setting out their vision for a multi-agency system, after they were shelved just a few months before they were due to start last summer. A consultation document on how the multi-agency inspection system will work reveals that between 20 and 25 local authorities, around one in six of all top-tier authorities in England, will be inspected in the 19-month period between April 2015 and November 2016. Those targeted will primarily be authorities where Ofsted is returning following a previous “inadequate” rating, as well as those where other inspectorates have concerns. However, around a quarter of the total will be made up of authorities that are performing well – the idea being that best practice can be shared. Ofsted, CQC and HMIC will be in the local authority area during a four-week period, all making separate judgments on their respective agencies – local authorities, health services, and police, using the same judgment structure. Services will be rated on their overall effectiveness and arrangements for children; experiences and progress of children who need help and protection; the experiences and progress of looked-after children; and leadership, management and governance. Each area will receive either an outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate rating. The inspectorates will publish their respective findings and judgments together in one report, including a shared judgment for the local safeguarding children board. It had initially been intended that multi-agency inspections of children’s services would be introduced in June 2013. But the plan was abandoned in April 2013 after problems were identified from sites piloting the approach. Debbie Jones, Ofsted’s national director for social care said the new system will create a better picture of how children are helped, cared for and protected by agencies in a local area. “The ambition is to encourage a far greater focus – from all agencies involved – on the experiences of children and the quality of the help and care they are given,” she said. “The protection, help and care of children and young people is everybody’s business and I am pleased that following last year’s decision to defer this work, we are now in a position to launch our consultation on this targeted and shared programme.” The move toward integrated inspection was recommended by Eileen Munro in her 2011 review of child protection, which argued that the quality and effectiveness of care and protection for children and young people could only be properly evaluated by taking into account the contributions of all local services. The consultation will run for 12 weeks, closing on 12 September

Source: CYPNow

Ofsted chief confirms early years inspection changes

Ofsted chief confirms early years inspection changes

Ofsted will reform the way it inspects early years settings, the inspectorate’s director for early years has confirmed.

Nick Hudson revealed Ofsted’s intention to change the way early years settings are inspected during an online debate with the sector on Tuesday evening.

Last week Ofsted announced plans to bring the management of schools and further education inspections back in-house but not those for early years, prompting a backlash from childcare leaders who accused the inspectorate of treating early years as a “second-class service”.

But Hudson defended the move while hosting EY Talking – a weekly discussion on Twitter organised by childcare consultant Laura Henry – together with Gill Jones, Ofsted’s deputy director for early years.

He said Ofsted intends to reform early years inspections but does not feel it is the right time to bring the management of the service back in-house.

Hudson said the inspectorate needs “clarity about what to inspect” before making any decisions about whether to regain control of the service or continue to outsource it.

When asked what Ofsted needed to clarify, Hudson cited “a lot of change” in the sector.

He also said the sector should bear in mind the fact that the early years contracts, with Tribal Group, Prospects Services and Serco Education and Children’s Services, are due to expire in September 2015.

However, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, is yet to be convinced by Hudson’s comments and questioned why there is still uncertainty over the future of early years inspections.

He said: “While it’s true that the early years is undergoing a number of changes at the moment, this is a change that the sector has been actively calling for.

“As such, the alliance will continue to lobby this issue in our ongoing discussions with Ofsted.”

Claire Schofield, director of membership, policy and communication at National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), took part in the debate.

She said: “Nick Hudson made some comments which gave hints of change in the future for early years inspections but what we need is more facts.

“If, as indicated, Ofsted is thinking of altering the inspection format, NDNA would caution that they change needs to involve consultation with the sector so its views can be considered.”

In April, practitioners raised concerns about the quality and training of inspectors appointed by Tribal Group during an Ofsted Big Conversation event in London.

Professionals criticised the company for failing to adequately train inspection staff on the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.



The Home Office has launched a new poster campaign today which urges mothers and carers who suspect a girl in their community is at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM)

The Home Office has launched a new poster campaign today which urges mothers and carers who suspect a girl in their community is at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) to call the NSPCC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 028 3550 for advice and support.
Source: Home Office Press Release 02 June 2014
Further information:
Read our factsheet on female genital mutilation (FGM)