Audit Commission Questions Effectiveness Of Childrens’ Trusts

The Audit Commission has published a report into the impact that childrens’ trusts have had on child protection. The trusts were set up in the wake of Lord Laming’s report on the death of Victoria Climbie with the aim co-ordinating childrens’ services.

However the Commission found that there was substantial confusion over the purpose of the trusts with 31% of children’s services directors claiming they were “unclear” about what the trusts should do. The Commission also noted that

    * “There is substantial local variation, in part reflecting different circumstances.
      In most areas collaborative working has improved, but the new arrangements have yet to settle down.
    * There is little evidence that mainstream funding, for example from social services, education and the NHS, has been redirected or that performance has been managed across services.
    * As a result, there is little evidence that children’s trusts, as required by the government, have improved outcomes for children and young people or delivered better value for money, over and above locally agreed cooperation.
    * Children’s trusts are unsure whether they are strategic planning bodies or concerned with the detail of service delivery
    * In going ahead with trusts, the government seemed to have ignored the results of its own pilot study”

The report then sets out recommendations saying that the Government should, among other things, “emphasise what to achieve in an updated single source of future guidance, rather than specify organisational forms or processes” whilst local authorities could “review current governance and management arrangements for children’s services to focus on delivering improved outcomes”

A summary and the text of the full report can be found on the Audit Commission website