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For NCS to prosper it must be compared

The recurrent assertions by the government that the National Citizen Service (NCS) has not replaced "traditional" youth services have been, quite rightly, viewed as disingenuous.

Will new ministers have any new ideas?

It is still too early to offer any well-informed predictions of what to expect from new Education Secretary Damian Hinds and his ministers at the Department for Education.

Mental health reforms can't wait until 2023

After all the talking and all the waiting it was great to finally see the green paper on children's mental health published in December. But it was like unwrapping a Christmas gift from someone who doesn't know you very well: you're excited to get anything, grateful they thought of you, then disappointed that you didn't get exactly what you wanted.

England is out of kilter on youth policy

At the end of last year, Tracey Crouch, England's youth minister, announced the shelving of plans for a new three-year youth policy statement, despite this being promised by her predecessor a year ago. The argument was that a broader civil society strategy was needed instead, one that embraced much more than youth work and youth policy.

Fears over universal credit demand action

The impact on poor people of the rollout of universal credit - the minimum six-week delay in receiving the first payment, the reduced amount that most claimants receive, the frequent slide into debt - is well known. But its impact on child protection has been largely overlooked.

Children Act well-intentioned duty now unrealistic

Often while walking between meetings my mind wanders back to the now familiar place it likes to pause: how to reconcile rising demand and reducing resource with high expectations that local authorities can and will minimise error in our child protection system.

Government must commit to make PSHE mandatory

One of the watershed moments of 2017 for the children's sector was the government's decision in March to legislate for the introduction of age-appropriate relationships and sex education (RSE).