Saturday, 22 October 2011

Labour's control and centralisation agenda.

A written statement by Gwenda Thomas the Deputy Minister for Social Services, "Safeguarding and Protecting People at Risk" seems to have been missed by most media outlets and commentators. It is however well worth a read if only to show the controlling and centralising nature of the Labour Government's agenda:
I intend to use the Social Services Bill to require the establishment of Safeguarding & Protection Boards to replace the current LSCBs and non statutory adult protection committees.

The functions of the Boards will be subject to consultation in 2012, but will encompass the existing statutory functions of LSCBs including developing policies and procedures to co-ordinate work, disseminate best practice, awareness raising and undertaking research and the scope of the adult protection committees.

I have said many times that doing things 22 times is not sustainable. Evidence presented by CSSIW and other inspectorate bodies earlier this month again suggested that LSCBs are not working as effectively as we had hoped. The rationale for fewer boards is considerable. As is the case for placing adult protection boards on an equitable footing with those for children.

Both the Independent Commission and the Safeguarding Children Forum saw merit in reconfiguring the current structure of LSCBs to align with the current Local Health Board footprint.

I have decided that the new Safeguarding and Protection Boards should be match the proposed Public Service Delivery footprint of six.

In advance of the legislation, my expectation is that LSCBs will begin planning for the change and move onto a collaborative model as soon as possible. The functions of LSCBs, prescribed in regulation will remain unchanged in the interim. The consultation period around the Bill will enable us to discuss and plan with stakeholders the changes to current adult protection arrangements.

The LSCB here refers to LOCAL Safeguarding Children's Board which will no longer be LOCAL as the 3 LSCB's in North Wales will be amalgamated into 1 to follow the blueprint of the Local Health Board and we all know that they don't work. As one who sits on the recently formed joint Wrecsam and Flintshire LSCB I really cannot envisage one that works across North Wales because of the sheer volume of the work and the differences in practise across the six counties; it will be exceptionally cumbersome and bureaucratic. The other problem here is that Ministers will not stop tinkering with processes and are basically changing things for the sake of changing them and with no evidence base that new structures will work. LSCB's were after all not introduced until 2006 following legislation in 2004. Five years is not a long time. All this does is introduce more bureucracy to distract front line managers away from their work in protecting children. Constant interference by politicians and administrators does nothing to ensure better outcomes for children.

4 comments:

Shambo said...

Jaxxlanders covered this a few days ago and made some pertinent points about motives.
http://insideoutswansea.blogspot.com/2011/10/so-much-for-scrutiny.html

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Apologies to Inside Out for the omission.

Shambo said...

I think you hit the nail on the head between you as regards motives. The Labour government is applying the same command and control mentality as it has attempted in other so-called joint working plans. It cannot be a a coincidence that there are to be six LSCBs and as many LHBs.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

This is just a move towards social care coming under Health...what a nightmare scenario!