Children’s Services are changing
The council is changing the way it delivers children’s services to improve the lives of all children and young people in Birmingham. It will improve the way we keep our children safe, ensure all services work more closely together, and use fewer resources.
These changes were agreed by councillors at a Cabinet meeting on 14 March 2011 and are described in the Cabinet Report at the foot of this page.
Why?The Ofsted inspection and the Improvement Notice from the Department for Education (DfE) in 2010, made it clear that while improvements have been made in children's services, current arrangements are not strong enough to protect the most vulnerable children and young people in the city. So, we need to do things much better by changing the way we organise our services and the way we deliver them.
Also, children's services need to save £60 million by 2014, with savings of £20 million in this first year, 2011 - 12. In order to achieve this, our services are being reorganised and we are strengthening our partnerships with the NHS, police, voluntary and private organisations.
What difference will it make?Children, young people and their families will experience three main improvements to the service in future so that:
- whenever necessary, they are better protected from serious harm
- they are fully supported to improve their involvement in learning and achieving in our schools and that they have the right skills to help them be confident in the world of work; and
- any existing gaps in the health of our city's children, young people and their families are eventually closed.
All children’s services will be improved in some way, to ensure they are accessible to the children and families that need them.
The main change will be the introduction of Integrated Family Support Teams that will be based across the city, in children's centres and schools for example. They will provide support to children and families with additional needs, but who do not require support from children’s social care.
The benefits of this approach are that parents and schools will soon have just one point of contact to get the support they need, and one point of contact to co-ordinate any support they receive. This will ensure that children and their families receive the right level of support at the right time.