Financial pressures and the streamlining of senior management teams make it unlikely that all councils will have a dedicated director of children’s services (DCS), a leading professional body has warned.
Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) president Matt Dunkley said it could not be taken for granted that each relevant council would have its own DCS - even though this is a key recommendation of Professor Eileen Munro’s review of child protection.
Mr Dunkley was speaking after research from the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services showed a third of the 58 councils that responded to its survey had DCS models that differed from those specified by the Children Act 2004, introduced in the wake of the Victoria Climbié tragedy.
LGC research earlier this year indicated that more than 25 authorities had non-standard arrangements - most commonly a single director of children’s and adults’ services.
The research also highlighted a trend of councils moving towards a commissioning-based model of service delivery.
Mr Dunkley said councils needed the freedom to decide their own arrangements, but must be clear about their impact.
“What is vitally important is that local authorities ask themselves serious questions about these arrangements,” he said.
Mr Dunkley said that among the questions should be whether lines of accountability were diluted or strengthened by any changes.