• Martin Narey to advise on making the system fit for purpose

Writing in The Times today, Children’s Minister Tim Loughton has announced that Martin Narey will be appointed as the new Ministerial Adviser on Adoption.

The Government is clear that adoption should be a much bigger priority for all local authorities and that more needs to be done to reduce delays in the system, speed up the time it takes to place children with families and make the system truly fit for purpose.

Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said:

Barely a week has gone past in the last year when I haven’t spoken to parents who have adopted, potential adopters, children in the care system, and children who have benefited from adoption.

I’ve been working to address problems in the adoption system for several years, and this has become a priority of the Government. We now need to step up a gear to help vulnerable children.

Our work in the last year is the first stage in my ambition to make the adoption system truly fit for purpose. I am delighted today to confirm that Martin Narey is the Government’s new Adviser on Adoption. He will provide an extra push to make sure the Government’s agenda is being seized enthusiastically, visiting individual authorities that need help to increase adoptions and improve the quality and sustainability of placements.

I am determined to get this right and see it through. There is no doubt in my mind that with the help of Martin, and the whole of the children’s sector, we can create a world-class adoption system. Vulnerable children deserve nothing less.

Martin Narey, former chief executive of Barnardo’s, will take up the post from this month. He has been asked to:

  • help raise awareness of the need to increase the number of adoptions in England, where this in the child’s best interests, and reduce delays in the system
  • promote the identification, awareness and sharing of good practice by the whole adoption sector
  • promote stronger collaboration between local authorities, voluntary adoption agencies and the courts
  • visit individual local authorities who may be struggling with their adoption processes to provide advice and support on improving services so that adoption is available for all those children for whom it is in their best interests
  • undertake thematic studies on particular aspects of the adoption system causing concern, such as why black and minority ethnic children face particular delays in being placed for adoption.

New adoption adviser, Martin Narey said:

I am delighted to see Tim Loughton and Michael Gove make adoption the priority it should have been for the last few years. As my recent report for The Times argues, adoption can transform the lives of some of the most neglected children in the UK. I will judge my success in this post if adoptions radically increase and if the time taken to complete adoptions is significantly reduced.

Tim Loughton has asked Martin Narey to report on progress on a quarterly basis for discussion at the Ministerial Advisory Group on Adoption.

Over the last year, the Government has been working to raise the profile of adoption. New guidance published in February made clear that all local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies must make adoption more of a priority and do everything they can to reduce delays, particularly for older and black and ethnic minority children. The guidance also made clear that potential adoptive parents should not be turned down purely on the grounds that they don’t share the same ethnic background as the child. 

The Government is doing further work with Ofsted to improve accountability of local authorities. Ofsted are amending their inspection framework to place more weight on the number, timeliness and quality of adoptions when they inspect children’s services.

Notes to editors

1. Tim Loughton’s article for The Times.

2. Martin Narey will take up post from this month for a period of up to two years. The appointment process was run in accordance with Departmental guidelines.

3. The most recent data analysis on adoption was published in April.

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