Headlines: September 2nd, 2003

The Children’s Interagency Group is calling for the Green Paper on children’s services – due to be published shortly – to begin a national debate on ways of working together more effectively across all professions and sectors to improve children’s lives and children’s services. The group is made up from the Association of Chief Education Officers, the Association of Directors of Social Services, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, The Confederation of Education Service Managers, the Connaught Group, the Local Government Association, the Metropolitan Police, the National Children’s Bureau, NCH, NCVCCO, the NHS Confederation, NSPCC and SOLACE – the local government’s chief executives’ association.Setting out its expectations for the Green Paper it stresses that local councils and their partner agencies, alongside children and their families are best placed to develop responses that suit local needs and local con ditions. It believes the Green Paper will offer a unique opportunity to look ahead and reflect on what children’s services should be and to help ensure that every child in Britain has an equal chance, putting children at the heart of society. The agencies say they expect that the Green Paper will assert the distinctive contributions of all the professions involved in the care and protection of children.

The group stresses a number of key principles it believes should govern the future development of children’s services. These include leaving the 1989 Children Act as the central piece of legislation in this area and schools, children’s centres and primary health settings being the core means of supporting and protecting children. The agencies are calling for joined up strategies for reducing offending, and involving local youth justice agencies. They also believe local authorities are best placed to act as the accountable body locally and that voluntary organisations are often best placed to take on a leading role in developing provision for service delivery across partnerships.