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Safeguarding related pressures on local authority children’s services have been the subject of much discussion and media attention since the death of Peter Connelly in 2007. ADCS commissioned the first two phases of research in 2010 to explore the rise in safeguarding activity and evaluate the impact. There was evidence of increases in: initial contacts; referrals; children subjects of a child protection plan and children looked after. The increases appear to be the result of a wide range of reasons, some of which were positive, including better awareness amongst professionals, but also due to a rise in population, domestic abuse, and the economic downturn. In addition, the 2009/10 settlement for children’s services was thought to be insufficient to meet increasing needs, with a 5.9% overspend forecasted across 43 authorities.
Now just over two years on from the first two phases of research into safeguarding pressures, local authorities continue to report further increases in safeguarding activity and associated pressures, and further research (Phase 3) has been undertaken to identify what changes have taken place in the past two years and what are the reasons, including a focus on permanency routes for children looked after.
Up to 115 (76%) local authorities responded to a request for data, providing children's social care data and qualitative information about changes to safeguarding activities within their authority. In addition, policy, legislative, social and economic factors which frame the ever more complex context in which safeguarding services are now planned and delivered were considered.
ADCS Press Release 30 Sept 2010
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