Local authority children's services are leading the development of a new system of improvement and challenge through a Children’s Improvement Board. Membership of these includes local government representatives - the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), the Local Government Group (LGG), the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives - and the Department for Education. Membership will be reviewed after an external evaluation of the governance arrangements.

It is widely agreed that LA's will own and deliver the new system, which will work on the basis of:

  • an assessment based on self-evaluation, peer review and challenge, underpinned by a streamlined inspection regime;
  • a range of improvement offers that are brokered, commissioned and (mostly) delivered by the sector, and that rely on good use of evidence;
  • capacity building support as LAs shift increasingly towards being strategic commissioners – working with the voluntary and community sector and other partners to deliver services; and
  • coordinated support for LAs as new policies and priorities are implemented.

This more open and transparent approach across local authorities should reduce instances of failure, with the Department only intervening directly in cases of significant and sustained failure.  In such cases, improvement measures will still be agreed and implemented with the sector.

Some £10.5m is being made available in 2011/12 to support development and implementation of the new system.