Closer partnership working between agencies will result from a new model for more co-ordinated and community-based children’s services. The proposals are set out in a consultation document published by the Local Government Association, the NHS Confederation and the Association of Directors of Social Services.”Serving children well – a new vision for young people’s services” sets out a strategic framework for children’s services which enhances life chances for them and prevents later intervention. The proposals are based on the recognition that children live as part of their family, their school and their community and that housing, schools, play facilities, transport, GPs and health care, and social services all shape their experience. This complex picture can only be made coherent at local level.
The proposals include creating local multi-disciplinary teams to develop more joined up, responsive services for children and their families and developing a common approach and shared responsibility for child assessment. It is also proposed that children should be involved in planning services and that agencies should be more accountable to the community.
The TUC has called for Regional Development Agencies to place a higher priority on boosting local childcare. RDAs are currently rewriting their regional economic strategies at the insistence of the Department for Trade and Industry and the TUC wants access to childcare to play a much greater role in the revised strategies.