Powers to test different ways of working children’s social care

Controversial ‘powers to innovate’ for children’s social care are contained in the Children and Social Work Bill.

“Our ambition is that, by 2020, over a third of all current local authorities will either be delivering their children’s services through a new model or be actively working towards a different model”  DfE Putting Children First, July 2016 


Innovation funding is set out here http://springconsortium.com/about-the-programme/    See also Justine Greening announcement November 3rd 2016 (additional funding for Pause Project, Frontline, and Positive Choices in Calderdale)

The Bill STARTED in the House of Lords. Peers debated this in  Report stage on November 8th 2016. (More about the stages of a Public Bill through Parliament here )

Scroll down for a list of blogs and articles with differing opinions on the proposals

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201617/jtselect/jtrights/739/73902.htm   Legislative Scrutiny: (1) Children and Social Work Bill, Joint Committee Human Rights,  October 13th 2016 

The Bill as amended will then pass to the Commons ie it has not yet been discussed by MPs. It is possible that many MPs will speak on the proposals at Second Reading in the Commons, especially if they have been contacted by constituents.

Lobbyists will also be interested to see which MPs turn out to be on the Bill Committee

The powers to innovate (also known as Power to test different ways of working’) were raised straight away at  Second Reading on June 14th  and also discussed in Grand Committee on July 11th.

It is somewhat confusing that these measures were originally clauses 15-19 but after Committee stage the Bill was re-issued with additional clauses, making the new Power to test different ways of working begin at clause 29. (See screenshot below)

The content of the clauses is unchanged despite objections by peers, except that the reference to Local Safeguarding Children Boards has been amended, presumably since the status of LSCBs is under review.


Different Opinions 


“Community Care: The Children and Social Work Bill allows government to ‘exempt’ some children’s services from certain statutory duties. Can you give an example of what kind of things that would allow social workers to do that they currently can’t?

Isabelle Trowler: This is a really classic example of how anxious everybody is because actually what we have been saying, particularly on the children’s side, even before the Munro review and subsequently is that we’ve too many rules in the system, we need to be allowed to exercise our professional judgment and all these rules are getting in our way.

Now, what the bill will hopefully enable us to do, is where authorities request that [exemptions], they can innovate and do things differently. We’re working with partners in practice now to think through what some of those things might be.”

The partners in practice authorities

Achieving for Children (Richmond and Kingston)
North Yorkshire
Tri-borough (Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea)

Parliamentary Briefing from DfE  circulated by Isabelle Trowler October 14th, includes examples of how the power could be used.


Will this open the door for profit-making in child protection services, which is currently ruled out under regulations set out in 2014?

  • Could multiple authorities be granted the same exemption?
  • Will this lead to a two tier system?
  • Why does the power apply to such a broad range of legislation?
  • Will this open the door for profit-making in child protection services, which is currently ruled out under regulations set out in 2014?
  • Can’t local authorities already achieve the aims of the clause under existing legislation?

“Our initial conversations with our Partners in Practice authorities, who we anticipate being the first to apply for exemptions, do show some commonality between the areas that they are thinking about.” (Hampshire: Independent Reviewing Officers, Disabled Children Short Breaks; North Yorkshire: Fostering and Adoption)

http://ssrg.org.uk/a-pilot-is-a-pilot-researchers-and-the-children-and-social-work-bill/  October 17th 2016

http://www.frg.org.uk/involving-families/reforming-law-and-practice/reform-of-child-welfare-systems-policies-and-practices-including-child-protection-and-the-care-system Family Rights Group briefing October 19th: 5/6 proposed examples would only require modification to regulations (secondary legislation) NOT to primary legislation, 6th could be implemented by amending local procedures.




3 thoughts on “Powers to test different ways of working children’s social care

  1. Pingback: Checklist LAs Ofsted inadequate + relevant links | edyourself

  2. Pingback: Government amendments to opt out clause for social work October 2016 | edyourself

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