The Department for Education shows an “alarming reluctance” to become actively involved in promoting the welfare of children in care, MPs have claimed.
In a newly published report, the Commons Public Accounts Committee insists that the Department for Education’s (DoE) legislative responsibilities in relation to children in care and local authorities mean it is “clearly best placed to provide the leadership required in many cases.”
But rather than helping to secure “better services and outcomes for children in care” it “chooses to limit its role to passing legislation, publishing guidance and intervening after Ofsted has failed a local authority service”, the report declares.
The Department is failing to make full use of the information and expertise it had access to, the Committee declares. It calls on the government to actively promote good practice in relation to children in care and provide assistance to local authorities prior to inspections by Ofsted.
There has been little improvement in the overall welfare of vulnerable and ‘looked after’ children, the MPs claim.
But a spokesman for the DoE said the report had deliberately ignored substantial progress. He said:
“We have introduced tough new rules to stop children going missing, are intervening in councils across the country to ensure children are receiving the services they deserve, and we have undertaken a review of secure places for the victims of child sexual exploitation.”
Read the report here.