Dear Napo Family Court Section members,
Great news ! The Government is set to withdraw Clause 32 of the Children & Social Work Bill at the next reading on 7th March. This was originally clause 29 and was the subject of an emergency motion to Napo members at AGM in Cardiff last October.
The clause would have allowed Local Authorities to request exemptions from their statutory duties in children’s social care. Six years was the maximum duration of exemptions which would have included every Act of Parliament concerned with children’s social care from 1933 onwards with no Green or White papers for consultation!
Lord Low and Lord Watson echoed the AGM motion in pointing out that it would have simply paved the way for the privatisation of children’s services and dismantling of the state. This would have been a travesty for the most vulnerable children in society. There was absolutely no evidence that it would have led to better services for children and no evidence to suggest general dissatisfaction with existing primary legislation. There was no evidence of support for the clause amongst the many agencies and services involved in providing services to children which would have resulted in a postcode lottery system for children in need. The Government was challenged by David Lammy MP to show what research had been considered in making the proposal. The answer provided by Edward Timpson on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education evaded the crucial question by suggesting in the vaguest terms that academic sources provide information about international innovations and system reform.
Following the AGM, Napo affiliated to the “Together for Children” Campaign(52 organisations) and Napo members added their names to a petition of in excess of 106,000 signatures of professionals opposing the clause and lobbying their MPs.
Follow the links below to read more about the Bill.
https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2016-2017/0121/amend/children_rm_rep_0302.pdf [pages 16-17]. This provides the latest Notices of Amendments given up to and including 2nd March 2017. The Secretary of State Justine Greening has added her name to the leave out amendments!
Kind regards and hope to see you at the Family Court Section AGM in Manchester on 9thMarch.
Napo Family Court Section Co-chair.