Her Majesty’s chief inspector of education, children’s services and skills is responsible for the inspection of local authority children’s services. Last year, spending on the most vulnerable children increased to over £9 billion. I very much welcome the efforts of colleagues in the Department for Education and in local councils, who continually look for ways to improve their services.
Following the murder in Ipswich two weeks ago of a 17-year-old and the critical stabbing of a 16-year-old on Wednesday evening, does the Minister recognise the serious effects that cuts to support for looked-after children and other vulnerable young people are having on their ability to lead safe, productive and law-abiding lives?
I am sure the thoughts of the whole House are with the families of the young children the hon. Gentleman mentions at this difficult time. Matters of policing and crime are for the Home Office, but the Government and local councils agree about the importance of high quality children’s services. He will know that a new inspection framework was introduced earlier this year. I am pleased that Suffolk County Council, his local authority, was rated good in its most recent inspection.
Has the Minister spoken to his counterparts at the Department for Education to discuss ways to improve the educational attainment of looked-after and vulnerable children? If not, why not?
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question. He will be pleased to know that just last week I met the Children’s Minister to discuss exactly the topic that he raised. In particular, one of the topics that we discussed was the care leavers covenant, which the Government are piloting and introducing to improve the educational and employment outcomes for children and young people leaving care.