Headlines: June 26th, 1998

A major childcare management strategy – to tackle the problem of erratic and unfocused work in children’s services – will be developed and launched later this year by the Department of Health.

The revelation comes in a new report summarising several recent findings of inspections into the quality of care provided by social services departments. These show there area several areas where there is serious concern about services for children.

Social Services, Facing the Future is Sir Herbert Laming’s seventh and last annual report as the Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate, and it shows that the quality of work with children and families is too often haphazard and inconsistent.

Sir Herbert said: “It is essential that social services have effective arrangements for undertaking systematic assessments, addressing conflicts and reaching, recording and reviewing decisions. It was often not possible to see why social services had intervened, what they hoped to achieve and how they would know whether the situation had improved or deteriorated. This is unacceptable.

“The child care strategy will aim to encourage a culture which will improve the management and delivery of children’s services. It will build on the instances of success in children’s services andstrengthen the weaknesses.”