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Sir Philip Green right to propose centralised approach

Sir Philip Green has spotted that the government is inefficient. It buys laptops and paper for wildly different and inflated prices, and manages its property portfolio appallingly. He proposes centralisation, and who could argue against that? A central agency could distribute supplies much more cheaply than every business unit buying their own.

Can good services remain standing?

Like the suffocating drone of vuvuzelas, cuts continue to dominate the atmosphere in the children's services arena and in public services more generally.

Opinion: Who carries the can when things go wrong in childsafeguarding?

What did you think last month when you heard that the Prime Minister of South Korea had offered his resignation in the wake of the ferry disaster? I don't suppose anybody thought that the PM had been at the helm of the ship that sunk, or that he could personally be held to blame for any lapses in the training of supervision of the ferry. But the culture in South Korea expects that those in highest authority carry responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

Gove gives joint working a rude jolt

Michael Gove's revelation to CYP Now that a Conservative government will remove obligations on local authorities to have children's trusts in place will come as a thunderbolt for children's services, particularly in their efforts to safeguard children and enable them to thrive.

Sector must influence the coalition

They say that a week is a long time in politics. Quite. As predicted in these pages for many months, the new Tory Secretary of State Michael Gove has renamed the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) as the Department for Education.

Vetting agency must foster responsibility

Keeping children safe from abuse is always a highly charged topic. It is naturally the first priority of most parents. It is vital for children's services departments, since a high-profile child abuse case causes untold damage not just to the child but to the whole service.

Election result prolongs uncertainty

At the time of writing -- on the historically uncertain afternoon of Friday 7 May -- the Conservatives were about to enter into negotiations with the Liberal Democrats about helping them to form a government.

Every Child Matters faces biggest test

The Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) pledged, in its annual report last week, to assess and build on the progress of Every Child Matters (ECM) for the next five years, as a policy priority for the coming 12 months. It is a good priority to hold, particularly given the uncertainty ahead.

It's good logic to halve child poverty

The fiscal stimulus, be it tax cuts or increases in government spending, has been all the rage on both sides of the Atlantic, as the boldest way to ride the recession.

Fighting for survival

A manager at one voluntary organisation talks about what the cuts have meant for her project's work, the fight to keep it going and her fears for the future.

Never mind the inspectorate, recruit the right inspectors

On the face of it, the education select committee's call to split Ofsted into two separate inspectorates for education and children's care would represent a further step away from services centred on the needs of the whole child. It is a trend played out in several areas through the disappearance of children's trust arrangements and local authority children's services departments.

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