Headlines: April 23rd, 2002

The Local Government Association is urging councils to fulfill their responsibility for child protection through coordinating a comprehensive, multi-agency response for vulnerable children. The Association wants Local Strategic Partnerships to bring together private, voluntary and community agencies and give strategic child protection direction to the needs of a local area.It believes that the alternative of introducing structural change to children’s services would create further disruption, communication problems and deflect from the essential task of ensuring the network of support protects all children at risk. A structural change approach would simply replace one set of boundaries and problems with another. In addition it would lead to substantial disruption to existing services in the medium term.

The Association has identified six issues that really matter to people and given a commitments to finding new ways of tackling them. Improving children’s services is one of the commitments. Some 40 pathfinder councils and partner organizations are working to develop innovative practice and to agree with ministers’ ways in which central government and its agencies could help local authorities and their partners to deliver real improvements in these challenging areas.