The regional bodies, details of which were announced by children’s minister Edward Timpson, will be made up of local directors of children’s services and charity representatives and feed into the work of the national Adoption Leadership Board.
In a speech on adoption reform in London, Timpson said the success of the Adoption Leadership Board “will rest in large part, on effective regional boards”.
He also revealed that Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) former president Andrew Webb is currently setting up these local boards.
Webb said: “In order to build on the strengths of existing partnerships between local authorities and the voluntary adoption agencies operating at a regional level, the ADCS agreed to ensure there are robust leadership arrangements at a regional level.
“It is essential if we are to maintain the momentum currently in evidence in the adoption system, that regional adoption boards are established and go on to develop strong links to the national board, whilst not losing their focus on the local need.”
Membership of each board will be determined locally but should “as a minimum comprise representation from all the local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies” in the region, said Webb.
Also involved in setting up the boards are the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies and the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
Work across London to improve recruitment is being seen as a blueprint for other regions, Timpson said, with Londoners more likely than any other group in England to contact the government’s national adoption phone line First4Adoption, and a number of successful council and voluntary sector projects to boost adoption being set up.
Adoption projects Timpson praised include a London Borough of Redbridge partnership with the charity Coram to reduce delays in the adoption process. This had seen a 175 per cent increase in the number of adoptions in the area “and in the process attracted a wider pool of adopters”, said Timpson.
Unveiled earlier this year, the Adoption Leadership Board is chaired by Sir Martin Narey and advises ministers and monitors progress in recruitment and matching families.