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Children's Trusts

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

In the “Children’s Plan”, which I presented to Parliament in December 2007, the Government set out their ambition to make this country the best place in the world for young people to grow up. As part of this we committed to strengthening the links between schools, health and other children’s services in every area through children’s trusts, so that together they can tackle all the barriers to the learning, health and happiness of every child.

Today I am publishing statutory guidance which:

clarifies what a children’s trust is, what it does and how it relates to other local partnerships;

discusses in more detail the vision and priorities in the children’s plan as they relate to children’s trusts and the five every child matters outcomes;

identifies the challenges that now need to be addressed; and

offers guidance on how the priorities in the children’s plan should be taken forward across the whole children’s trust.

The guidance also confirms the Government’s intention to legislate to:

extend the number of relevant partners under a duty to co-operate to include schools—including academies—sixth form and FE colleges, and Job Centre Plus;

make the children’s trust board a statutory body; and

give the board responsibility for producing the children and young people’s plan, which will then be ‘owned’ by the full children’s trust partnership.

The children’s plan set out a vision in which local authorities, schools, the health service and other local providers work together and support each other, both in setting the direction and in driving delivery. The proposals announced today, taken together, give us a framework that will help make this vision a reality.