On the precipice of further austerity, councils are failing vulnerable children
Peach, D 2015, 'On the precipice of further austerity, councils are failing vulnerable children', in: The Conversation, Education, 15/12/2015.
Despite being formed as a means of protecting children, the “care system” has always failed too many of them. New figures released by Ofsted have highlighted the local authority departments that provide poor quality services to children and families.
They show that of 74 council children’s services inspected between November 2013 and November 2015, 19 – a quarter – were found to be inadequate, with a further 38, or 50% requiring improvement. In a sector that has seen a continuing rise in demand alongside the introduction of austerity measures, only 17 councils were judged good and none were outstanding. Overall, 77% were not doing enough to protect children.
But we cannot mitigate such widespread failure by publicly shaming individual councils. Prime minister David Cameron has outlined plans to intervene in failing children’s services, which will be taken over by new managers including experts, charities and high-performing authorities. Although some authorities may indeed benefit from this external intervention, such a policy cannot be assumed to immediately fix the problems in the system.