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Children's Residential Care

Volume 229: debated on Thursday 22 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will announce the final terms of reference and the membership of the support force for children's residential care.

Further to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Taylor) on 24 June at columns 249–50, the terms of reference are as follows:

  • 1. (a) to offer advice to individual authorities on the interrelated issues of quality of care and management in children's residential care, with particular reference to the appointment and selection, personnel management, support, development and internal training of children's residential care staff.
  • (b) to offer advice to individual authorities and, where appropriate, groups of authorities on suitable mechanisms for snatching needs and supply in their localities or regions, taking account of the potential contributions of voluntary, private and public sectors; and on related commissioning and contractual issues. A particular focus of the work will be to assist authorities and the voluntary and private sectors to improve occupancy rates and hence reduce unit costs in children's residential homes where this is appropriate.
  • (c) to prepare material for a code of employment practice, for discussion with employer and other interests.
  • 2. The support force for children's residential care will work under Department of Health auspices, and from time to time as requested, report on its programme and progress. It will work with social services and, as appropriate, other agencies by invitation in a consulting and facilitating role; by implication it will draw attention to and disseminate examples of good practice. The social services inspectorate's advice will be available to it. It will work within the framework of the Children Act 1989 and regulations and guidance issued following that and other relevant legislation; the Warner report and Government decisions on it; and other material that may be relevant. Its remit is for a period of two years from the summer of 1993. Ministers will then review the progress made.
  • The members of the support force are:

    • Adrianne Jones CBE
      • Leader of the support force. Formerly director of social services for Birmingham and Hillingdon. Member of the Warner committee on the recruitment, selection and development of staff in children's homes.
    • Louise Bessant
      • Co-ordinator, Young People's Forum, Birmingham social services.
    • James King OBE
      • Former director of the Caldecott Community.
    • Brendah Malahleka
      • Service manager, children and families, London borough of Ealing.
    • Steven Moss
      • Assistant director, finance and administration, Manchester city council social services department.
    • Robert Sykes
      • Assistant director operations, Oxfordshire social services.
    • Susan Thomas
    • Chief personnel officer, London borough of Lewisham. Member of the Warner committee.
    • Mike Nichol
    • Formerly chief education officer for the Wirral, Cheshire. Now working as an educational consultant for Coopers and Lybrand.