The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) formerly the Department for Education and Skills’, ‘Five-Year Strategy for Children and Learners’ published in November 2004, proposed new arrangements for the delivery of children and young people's these policies in the regions, with each Government Office (GO) taking responsibility for much of this work. A ‘Future Role of Government Offices’ project is currently underway to identify the regional arrangements and structures that will help put this important work into practice.
The new arrangements should bring greater coherence to DCSF activities in each region.
Supporting the DCSF
GOs support the DCSF on its other flagship policies for children and young people, which include:
- the Green Paper ‘Every Child Matters’
- the Children Act, which received Royal Assent in November 2004
- the national ‘Change for Children Programme’, which has been launched to help realise the vision first presented in the ‘Every Child Matters’ Green Paper
GOs link up with a range of government departments, regional organisations and local communities, and will play an impportant role in supporting regional and local partners to introduce the changes outlined in ‘Every Child Matters’ and the Children Act. Each GO will have its own way of providing this support, but a common focus will be on improving access to information, and promoting, where possible, multi-agency working for children’s services on the ground.
An important role of the GOs is managing a range of programmes and budgets at a sub-regional level, including:
- Sure Start
- Children’s Fund
- positive Activities for Young People
- transforming Youth Work
- Millennium Volunteers
Links across other government department agendas
GOs are home to a total of eleven government departments and this unique vantage point places us in an excellent position to make links between the wide variety of Government policies that might impact on children, young people and their families.
Our role is to interpret these new policies at the regional level and inform national policy colleagues of issues which arise as a result. The presence, for example, of education, crime reduction and drug prevention, public health, planning, transport and housing and communities teams within GOs enables effective cross-departmental work which can only improve outcomes for children and young people.
Most GOs have established regional Children's Groups (GOCGs), which will usually consist of a mix of representatives with some responsibility for children and young people policies and services. Such groups help to simplify messages about Government policies for local organisations and assist with identifying and spreading good practice through the variety of networks to which members of GOCGs have access, and ensure ‘joined-up’ working.