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Slow progress on improvement plan

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Concerns are mounting that councils in some English regions are moving too slowly when it comes to implementing the new sector-led improvement regime for children’s services.

The LGA executive board heard that regions such as London and the east Midlands were progressing well with the sector’s £9.3m peer review and support programme, but that ministers were “taking a close interest in progress” and had “high expectations” for the speed of change.

In a report to the board’s meeting, sector leaders were warned that to appear “credible”, councils would need to show they were “moving quickly towards universal engagement”.

Sector leaders were told that a key factor for the programme’s success was committed political leadership from within councils and that ministers were looking for evidence that the sector could provide this.

David Simmonds (Con), chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said he believed the programme was supported by the sector but that some areas needed to increase their pace in finalising arrangements.

“It’s a new programme, and it exemplifies the government’s view of localism. Approaches to implementing it will vary from area to area. We need to make sure progress is prompt,” he said.

The programme is overseen by the Children’s Improvement Board, a partnership between the LGA, Solace, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, and the Department for Education.

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