IMPOWER are delighted to introduce Shining a Light; the inaugural essay collection on the challenges facing children’s services. Individually and collectively, they set out some clear views and raise some fascinating questions. The challenges faced are considerable and well documented; from increasing demand and shrinking resources, through to inappropriate cuts in prevention spend, and the recruitment and retention of social workers. All at a time when central government is actively pushing the use of (largely untested) alternative delivery models, with a system still underpinned by an inspection framework no longer fit-for-purpose.
We live in a time when there are constant challenges to the way children’s services operate, and to the broader concept of public service delivery. This is a debate that is not exclusive to the social care community, and this is reflected in the backgrounds of the authors. However, whilst diverse in topic, the essays reveal some interesting links and themes. Is social care moving away from its original purpose? Is the system equipped to effect change and manage demand on the scale and pace required? What does improvement activity really need to focus on, and why? What are the skills the workforce need to enable them to have the confidence to deliver? What are the issues coming over the hill that may compound those we’re facing today?
These essays make a valuable input to the debate about sustainable children’s services. As always, we welcome your feedback, or if you are interested in learning more about how we are supporting children’s services across the country, please contact Olly Swann at firstname.lastname@example.org.