All children must be kept safe, and we take tough intervention action when any council fails in its duty.
As the case in Rotherham today shows, the introduction of experienced and high-quality leadership is part of the answer. Will my hon. Friend, in his new portfolio, take on board the recommendation of the Select Committee on Education and place a greater emphasis on giving support and guidance to children’s services when considering intervention?
Many Government interventions provide support and guidance that works within an authority’s existing structure. In serious cases, an independent commissioner can provide those recommendations, and of course the ultimate reprimand is to be put in a trust.
Clearly, we cannot afford to have failing children’s services, but how far do Ministers recognise the massively increased demand on children’s services in Britain, because of things such as sexual exploitation of our young people and the range of difficulties caused by poverty in the home? What does that mean for the commitment of funding?
I have been to see both Hackney and Doncaster. In Hackney’s case, there was a turnaround in 2006; in Doncaster, it was over the last two years. It is about leadership, and a better-quality outcome depends not just on the leaders at the top, but on the social workers on the frontline being able to feel confident in the service that they provide. [Interruption.]
The sedentary chuntering of the hon. Member for Ealing North (Stephen Pound) would constitute a book in itself, and it might sell rather well.