The Government is proposing a modified version of the ‘power to test different ways of working’ (ie opt out of children’s social care legislation) which will be discussed by a Committee of MPs on January 10th 2017 when Minister Edward Timpson will speak to a series of amendments to the Children and Social Work Bill in the form of new clauses to the Bill (full details HERE)
Members of the public can send comments to the Committee in advance of the discussion on the 10th. Submissions must be received in good time for circulating to Committee members so time is very short. Scroll down for more information on how to format your submission.
The Minister will be hoping to convince MPs that the following concerns are addressed:
- The power can’t now be used for children in need or child protection (there were no such exceptions when the Bill was first introduced)
- There is an explicit prohibition on using secondary legislation for the Bill as a back door to the privatisation of children’s services
- The power will not be imposed without consent on failing councils (when first introduced, clause 18 of the Bill said that the Government could use the power of direction)
- There will have to be consultation in the local area
- An expert panel must now scrutinise any proposed opt-out and the panel’s written advice must be made public (when first introduced, the Bill only said that the Government must consult the Children’s Commissioner and the head of Ofsted)
- The Government must publish a report showing how any proposed opt-out will not have a detrimental effect on the welfare of children (when first introduced there was no reference to child welfare in clause 15 of the Bill which simply talked about “achieving better outcomes under children’s social care legislation or achieving the same outcomes more efficiently”)
- There must be statutory guidance (which will be subject to consultation)
- The Government will have to publish an annual report on how the power is being used
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS ON EXACTLY WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE PUTTING FORWARD ON JANUARY 10TH
SUBMISSIONS TO THE BILL COMMITTEE
The recognised format for submitting views to the Committee is a Word document with numbered paragraphs, no more than 3,000 words.
You should begin your submission with a summary of your views and a short personal introduction.
Your name, address, telephone number and email address should go in a covering email, NOT in the Word document.
More details on how to send your views to the Committee here