Headlines: October 24th, 2003

The local democracy think tank, the Local Government Information Unit, has teamed up with the Department for Education and Skills to highlight the responsibilities faced by local councillors as ‘corporate parents’ for children in care.They have launched ‘If this were my child’ described as a councillor’s guide to being a good corporate parent, and which the two bodies say is an essential toolkit for local authorities as they face new responsibilities arising from the government’s recent Green Paper ‘Every Child Matters’ and the Laming Report earlier this year into the death of Victoria Climbie.

The guide focuses on how ‘corporate parenting’ will evolve under the new council cabinet and scrutiny structures and looks at ways in which councillors can be better supported in integrating their new roles. It also highlights how the educational achievements of children in council care can be raised. It gives examples of best practice from local authorities around the country.

Dennis Reed, the Chief Executive of the LGIU, said councillors were accepting new responsibilities in the area of supporting looked-after children and the guide was a contribution to giving them the tools for the job. He also called for the new responsibilities to be taken into account in the review of local government finance and for them to be reflected in proper investment. “It would benefit no-one, least of all vulnerable children, if local government was set up to fail through inadequate funding,” he said.

Copies of ‘If this were my child’ are available from DfES Publications, PO Box 5050, Sherwood Park, Annesley, Nottingham NG15 0DJ. And by e-mail at dfes@prolog.uk .com, quoting reference ITWMC.