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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.

Resilience prevails amid Osborne's bleak choices

Like a piercing, bitter English winter, Chancellor George Osbourne's "autumn statement" was eye-wateringly harsh. It is, without doubt, children and young people growing up in the most deprived households who are being asked to bear the brunt.

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.

A very tall order with a short deadline

Across the country, newly formed local teams are embarking on a colossal exercise. In every area, local authorities have until next month to quantify how many troubled families live in each area and set out how they are going to help them turn their lives around.

End service barriers to give families a boost

There have been numerous government-sponsored reviews over the past few months: Graham Allen on early intervention, Frank Field on social mobility, Dame Clare Tickell on the early years and Eileen Munro on child protection.

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.

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.

Progress in joint working must go on

The decision last week to strip the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) of government funding will inevitably raise concerns that any genuine "development" of the workforce will stall. A plan for how the Department for Education intends to take forward the quango's work is yet to be articulated.

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.

Shhh... Every Child Matters lives on

Watch out, the language police are about. An internal Department for Education memo lists 30 terms the government wants consigned to history, and the words that should be used in their place. Many relate directly to children's services.

Hidden costs of payment-by-results

We are in an age of austerity where outcomes are critical. So it is difficult to take issue in raw principle with the government's desire to commission more public services on a payment-by-results basis.

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.

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