The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has expressed concern about the review of residential care, announced by the Prime Minister last week. It questions why such a review is required, since a parliamentary inquiry was undertaken on children’s homes in 2013. Social workers “find it hard not to see this latest announcement as anything more than a further roll out of the government’s privatisation agenda”, BASW adds.
The review will be undertaken by Sir Martin Narey, who was chief executive of Barnardo’s following a long career in the prison service. In August, he was appointed to the board of the Ministry of Justice.
Narey issued a call for evidence on 28 October, with a deadline of 31 December 2015. The consultation document has no questions but states Narey intends to explore:
- the types of residential care that are currently provided, in order to understand the full range of provision which is available and when and for which young people it is best used
- what works within residential care settings to improve outcomes for the young people placed in them
- what improvements could be made to the way that residential care provision is commissioned, delivered, regulated and inspected to improve outcomes and value for money
- whether there are better alternatives for some of the children who are currently in residential care
- any other issues which might contribute to better outcomes for children in care.
He has specifically asked for the views of children, young people and adults who once lived in residential care.
The scope of the review will extend to secure children’s homes, residential schools, secure training centres and young offender institutions. Of these, only secure children’s homes are presently not run by private companies. There is clear overlap with Charlie Taylor’s review of youth justice, which also includes custodial institutions. Narey is due to report in spring 2016 and Taylor in summer 2016.
Article 39 will be submitting to the review.