A number of recent policy developments around children and young people have significantly shaped the Government Office role in this important area of work.
More information on the national picture
This role is based on an appreciation of the increasing significance of Government Offices across Whitehall and the need for a joined-up approach in local areas with local authorities at the centre of delivering the Government’s ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda in an integrated fashion.
We are responsible for:
(i) working with local authorities, often through Children’s Services Advisors, to ensure that the Every Child Matters agenda and other Government priorities are embedded in local planning, commissioning and delivery arrangements
(ii) working closely with key children's services improvement partners, including Strategic Health Authorities, the Care Services Improvement Partnership and the South East Public Health Group, the Training and Development Agency and Ofsted; and private sector partners such as Capita
(iii) advising local Learning & Skills Councils, Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and Regional Skills Partnerships about the Department’s policies and priorities for children, education and skills at all levels including higher education
(iv) understanding and sharing good practice across the region, with other regions and with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
A statistical snapshot of children and young people in the South East shows why we think this is an important area of work for us:
- children and young people make up nearly a quarter of the total regional population (2,007,500), which is 16% of the total population of children and young people in England
- a significant minority of young people reach the age of 16 with no qualifications whatsoever (2,120 in 2007), which is a cause for concern
- there are approximately 5000 conceptions to teenage mothers in the South East each year
- according to the latest available validated data, there are 7,3406 (41 children per 10,000) ‘looked after children’ in the South East, with 71% living in foster care and 10% in either secure units, children’s homes or hostels
- the percentage of ‘looked after children’ in Year 11 (2006) achieving 5 GCSE A* - C is 10% for the South East as compared to 11.8% for England and 59.7% for Year 11 as a whole in the SE
Field force prospectus and Calendar
As part of our work to support local authorities through joint improvement support plans, we have been working with other field forces and agencies across the South East to co-ordinate a better and tailored approach. This has involved producing the following two documents to assist our local authorities in identifying sources of support which are available:
1. Children's Services Improvement Support for local authorities and Children's Trusts: South East Supplement to the National Prospectus 2009-10. This regional prospectus sets out clearly information about improvement support agencies working across the region and the support they can offer. It builds on the DCSF Children's Services Improvement Support for local authorities and Children's Trusts: A National Prospectus 2009-10 published in February 2009, and provides information to local authorities and their partners so that there is greater understanding of the support available within the region. Limited number of hard copies available – please contact 01483 882438.
2. Calendar of Events. This calendar of events, which will be updated quarterly, provides details of the events and network meetings that South East fieldforce and other agencies hope to provide - we hope this will enable local authority officers to take account of these meetings in their work plans.