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LESSONS MUST BE LEARNT FROM WATERHOUSE REPORT

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The Association of Directors of Social Services welcomed the Waterhouse report but is disappointed it does not advo...
The Association of Directors of Social Services welcomed the Waterhouse report but is disappointed it does not advocate a children's commissioner for England.

ADSS president Jo Williams said: 'Many of us wanted to see a children's commissioner for England as well as Wales.'

But she said the call for a children's complaints officer for every council was a positive step: 'We have to make sure every child knows who that is and how to

contact them.'

English councils had much to learn from the report: 'Many of the children in North Wales were placed by English authorities. It's important that all of us look at our current systems and whether they measure up.'

In a reference to government inaction over the recruitment crisis in social work, she said: 'Regulation and inspection are important but more crucial is what happens day in, day out in foster homes and children's homes. This is about how we develop staff, support and train them.'

Essex CC children and families head Ruth Vincent said: 'We need a commissioner for England, not only to make the issue of children very high profile but also for it to be co-ordinated.'

ADSS organisation and standards chair Michael Hake said the report endorsed the Care Standards Bill provision for checks on people's suitability to work with children. 'Let's not water down the Bill, let's get it on the statute as soon as possible and make sure it's robust,' he said.

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