Doncaster Council stripped of control of child services(9 Posts)
I know their record is appalling, but I can't help thinking this is what the government has planned for all local authorities.
After promising that money for child services was ring fenced, and managing to make all sorts of unpopular cuts using this stance, my own LA have now announced plans to close all childrens centres, reduce the number of social workers by an absolutely unworkable amount and only bring children into care when they would hit the headlines for not doing so (ok, those weren't there exact words!!)
Yes I'm cynical but I can't help wondering which coalition MP has a buddy with links to the Independent Trust which is taking over childrens services in Doncaster.
I don't know, Doncaster seemed particularly bad and there were some disasters there in child services, though the media do portray a couple of LAs very badly while others stay under the radar. What you describe sounds like a cost focused change rather than anything to do with improving the quality of the service, sadly. It must be so overwhelming and frustrating to be a good individual SW working in that environment. The staff turnover alone must be a huge problem.
Oh yes, my own LA's changes are definitely cost cutting. It would just be a very nice side effect for the coalition government if this led to a complete failure though, resulting in privatisation of child services - what I suspect they want all along by cutting costs so far that they even day to day services simply cannot work.
Sorry, I forgot to address your comment about the frustration for social workers. You are absolutely correct and sadly a lot of them have understandably taken redundancy packages because they simply can't stand it any longer. Unfortunately redundancy packages aren't available to foster carers or looked after children and we're left coping with some very real problems. My current placement is a very troubled one and on her fourth SW in 4 months. Is it any wonder she has trouble trusting authority figures??
Luckily some good SWs have stayed but most of them are now part time, or over loaded with their colleagues case loads. Even some of the most experienced SWs are often off sick.
Sorry for going on a rant, this issue just infuriates me at the moment as the impacts of decisions in parliament are really affecting the children I care for, while MPs are currently debating how many thousands of pounds to award themselves in pay rises.
I absolutely agree with you Scarlet - when I heard about Doncaster I thought this is the thin edge of the wedge for Social Services Dept. I didn't have to wait long because in today's Guardian there is an article entitled "Services for Vulnerable Children in England to be Privatised" -I'll relay a bit of it: "The govt is planning to allow out sourcing firms to bid for contracts to manage SS in England while dropping laws allowing the removal of companies that fail to do the job properly!!!! (Me exclamation marks of course! A number of firms have expressed an interest in proposals that would allow them to bid for contracts managing foster care and providing other services for children in care.
Lisa Nandy (shadow children's minister) says "For the govt to consider outsourcing a sensitive service like foster care to the private sector, when we have just seen with G4S and Serco how a profit motive can have disastrous consequences for the public purse, is madness."
So .............watch this space. You might be working for G4S or Serco soon! I am absolutely appalled at the way this govt is charging ahead with its privatisation agenda and I don't think they will be satisified until all public services are privatised. 70% of the work of the Probation Service is already privatised and schools are being bullied in some case to become Academies and the NHS is being sold of to "any willing provider"
I too am cynical and I can't help but think that the slashing of budgets is a tactic not just to save, but to ensure that the service can't be properly run when it is so under resourced, and so that makes the case for moving to privatisation look rational. The same thing is happening with schools, in that Ofsted are putting schools into special measures more and more often, so that there is a rational reason for them to be turned into Academies to be run for profit of course.
I am still in touch with some colleagues/friends from the LA where I worked and they are telling me horror stories of buildings being sold off and sws sitting in car parks with their lap tops. There are growing number of vacancies as sws are demoralised that they cannot provide a good service, and the vacancies are "frozen" because the LA can't afford to recruit new workers.
I too have heard that many children are not being removed from unsafe homes because the LA can't afford to look after them. It's a very big mess and god only knows where it will all end up. The govt are anxious to privatise everything before the next general election, so that it cannot be reversed.
Nananina, I'm pleased that I'm not alone in my cynicism!
Sadly, I've heard there has been (another) death of a young child (who was being "monitored at home" )in my neighbourhood recently. Not so long ago this would have made front page news, of the local papers at least, but this time was just a couple of paragraphs deep inside a local free paper.
It's an absolute mess and yes, probably going to get worse in the mad push to bring more changes about before an election.
Agree with Nana, like Nana have been around some 38 years seen the change's most not so good. All so called changes have hidden agenda's., example saw one private fostering adoption agency expanding into special needs children even had an assessment clinic charging LA's up too £20.000 for assessment. Only too go into liquidation few month hence leaving all clients high and dry. can get these free with NHS.
Have been offered FREE office and conference facility in the past by a large National charity ( similar ) in return for amalgamation., in all their offices throughout the UK. Which was refused.
Seen recent respected SEN School change use into a large residential children's home .
Nothing can be taken as read this is BIG Corporate business coming into play.
Sorry to be retiring in a few years
Nice too hear Groves has done a U Turn regard's the privatisation of Doncaster children's services.
Would have ended up like children's homes privatisation by the back door. 30% are now owned by American property equity company's sold off around date of Rochdale's disclosures.
Always there are hidden agenda's. sad too say as in the NHS also.
Ah I hadn't heard this - probably because he couldn't find anyone who wanted to take it on. I heard Gove recently was talking about children being placed miles from their homes as indefensible...........and yes I agreed, but what he failed to understand that the reason for this is because LAs who can't find an "in house" placement, then they have to "buy" a place at an extortionate cost from a private children's homes and this could be anywhere in the country.
I have written to my local Tory MP asking if she could advise him of this fact and the same is true for younger children who have to be placed with IFAs because there are no "in house" placements and again this could be anywhere in the country. The Children Act 1989 states that children (wherever possible) should be placed in their home areas, and this was always the case before the IFAs sprang up and poached LA foster carers and charged LAs "eye watering" amounts for the "sale" of one of their families.
BUT who cares as this govt (and it has to be said the one before them) are intent on pushing the privatisation agenda as far as possible and I reckon won't rest until all public services are privatised.
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