Government clarifies ban on Every Child Matters

The Department for Education (DfE) has moved to allay fears that a ban on the use of the phrase Every Child Matters in the new government signals a shift in policy for children and young people.

Details of the changes in terminology are revealed in an internal DfE memo, split into two columns for words used before 11 May (when the coalition took office) and those with which they should be replaced.

Key changes to phrases in the children’s sector include the replacement of safeguarding with child protection, children’s trusts with “local areas, better, fairer, services'” and using the term “help children achieve more” in place of Every Child Matters or the five outcomes.

John Chowcat, general secretary of children’s services union Aspect, said he fears the change in language represents a gradual move away from the Every Child Matters agenda by the government. “I could not imagine this government making a bold announcement to the effect that Every Child Matters has gone or anything like that,” he said.

“The impact that would have in terms of demoralising the children’s workforce would be significant, but I can see a step-by-step shifting of the approach to the agenda. Although this change may be to do with language alone, what is happening suggests we need to be careful about the future of Every Child Matters.”

Wes Cuell, NSPCC director of services for children and families, said: “We hope the coalition will continue to work for better outcomes for children. We are not bothered about the terminology as long as it stays committed to better outcomes. Any signs it is not would be a big issue.”

Anne Longfield, 4Children chief executive, said she is confident the principles will continue to be followed on the ground. “The principles of Every Child Matters are observed in the field and people will continue to use those approaches even if they might not refer to it in the same way.”

The government has denied that changes to terminology outlined in the document indicate a change of policy direction. “There is no lack of focus on Every Child Matters,” a DfE spokesman said. “The coalition created the new DfE to carry through radical reforms in schools, early years and child protection.


Pre-11 May 2010 England will be the best place in the world for children to grow up
Post-11 May 2010 Make Britain the most family-friendly place in Europe

Pre-11 May 2010 Targeted services
Post-11 May 2010 Fairer services

Pre-11 May 2010 Targets and outcomes
Post-11 May 2010 Results and impact

Pre-11 May 2010 Children’s trusts
Post-11 May 2010 Local areas, better, fairer services

Pre-11 May 2010 One children’s workforce framework/tool
Post-11 May 2010 Local areas self-assessment tool

Pre-11 May 2010 Five outcomes/ECM
Post-11 May 2010 Help children achieve more

Pre-11 May 2010 Narrow the gap
Post-11 May 2010 Close the gap, vulnerable and disadvantaged

Pre-11 May 2010 Integrated working
Post-11 May 2010 People working better to provide better services

Pre-11 May 2010 Safeguarding
Post-11 May 2010 Child protection

Pre-11 May 2010 FIP
Post-11 May 2010 Key workers providing intensive support to families