LABOUR has forced the government into a “humiliating” U-turn on its plans to weaken child protection and give private companies a sniff of social services.
Proposals in the Children and Social Work Bill would have allowed each council to “opt out” of national requirements on child protection.
The rules — such as background checks of foster families and allocation of a social worker to every vulnerable child — had been put in place after the investigations into the deaths of child abuse victims Victoria Climbie and Baby P.
Education Secretary Justine Greening signed the Labour amendments that would scrap the central proposal in her own Bill yesterday morning after trying to sneak out the U-turn announcement by issuing a comment to a trade journal at 10pm the night before.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said that Ms Greening had “been reduced to sneaking out this humiliating announcement in the middle of the night in the hope that no-one will notice.
“We will now press the government to rule out further privatisation of children’s services and honour their commitments to refugee children.”
The GMB union lead officer for foster carers Rachel Harrison said that carers would welcome the news of the amendments being signed-off.
But she warned: “This U-turn addresses only part of the problem, as local authorities continue to endure budget cuts handed down by government we will see vital local services like fostering struggle to deliver the care that is so desperately needed.”
The proposals had also been defeated in the Lords but reinstated during committee stage in the Commons. The Bill is back in the Commons on Tuesday.