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Government announces members of Children’s Social Care reform board

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced the first members of the National Implementation Board, including Chief Social Worker Isabelle Trowler and England’s Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel De Souza.

25/07/22

Government announces members of Children’s Social Care reform board

The first members of the National Implementation Board have been announced by the Department for Education as the board met for the first time last week.

The Government announced the Children’s Social Care National Implementation Board as part of its initial response to the recommendations from the Review of Children’s Social Care, as well as the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s review into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson and the competition watchdog’s report into the children’s social care market.

The board will be chaired by the new Children’s Minister, Brendan Clarke-Smith, and feature representatives from prominent organisations in children’s social care. Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector at Ofsted; Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families for England; and England’s Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel De Souza DBE (pictured above) will join Clarke-Smith on the board, as well as children’s social care leaders in local government Steve Crocker OBE, President of ADCS and Director of Children’s Services in Hampshire; Jill Colbert OBE, Chief Executive of Together for Children and Director for Children’s Services in Sunderland; and Tom Riordan CBE, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council. Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering Sir Anthony Finkelstein CBE will also sit on the board.

The Department for Education said it also planned to appoint three board members with direct experience of the care system ahead of the first full board meeting.

The first meeting of board members was held last week with Care Review Chair, Josh MacAlister, also in attendance.

“A pleasure to chair the first interim meeting of our National Implementation Board this morning @educationgovuk, bringing together experts in delivering the kind of transformational change we want to see in children’s social care,” Brendan Clarke-Smith tweeted.

The Government announced its intention to set up the board to oversee improvements in children’s social care when Will Quince, then-Children’s Minister, addressed Parliament following the publication of the Care Review’s final recommendations, saying too many vulnerable children have been let down by the system.

“To enable me to respond effectively and without delay, I will establish a National Implementation Board, of people with experience of leading transformational change, to challenge the system to achieve the full extent of our ambitions for children,” Quince said.

Quince also confirmed that the Board will also consist of people with their own experience of the care system “to remind us of the promise of delivery and the cost of delay”. He later appeared on The Adoption and Fostering Podcast to say that he had asked “big charities in this space” to recommend and nominate individuals with lived experience of the care system to appear on the board.

He also confirmed that there will be a full implementation plan released by the Government before the end of this year.

The Department for Education says the board’s role will be to advise ministers on the implementation of reform across children’s social care, as well as boost efforts to recruit more foster carers, increase support for social workers including on leadership, recruitment and retention, improve data sharing, and implement a new evidence-based framework for all the professionals working in children’s social care.

The Department for Education says the board’s terms of reference and the first set of minutes will be published in due course.

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