Yesterday (5th December) I was in Parliament for the Second Reading of the Children and Social Work Bill. I am very concerned about the Government's proposals to allow local authorities to become exempt from their statutory duties to children, and plans to test new 'ways of working' that could lead to the outsourcing of children's social care.
In October I tabled Early Day Motion 626 opposing any move that could lead to any exemption from legal statutory responsibilities towards children in social care, or see the delivery of any aspect of children's social care be passed into the hands of a private, profit-seeking body. I have also asked a range of Parliamentary Written Questions on social services and adoption.
I was pleased that the Clauses of the Bill that would have brought about these changes were removed from the Bill in the House of Lords, however I am worried that the Government will seek to reinstate these Clauses. Yesterday during the debate I asked my colleague Angela Rayner MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education:
"My hon. Friend is doing a very good job of putting forward the case that exists in the country. Is she concerned that the Minister has not said much at all about what “innovation” he expects would require a local authority, in effect, to wash its hands of its statutory duty in respect of our young people and children?"