Children's homes providers, Local Authorities and Government are united in the aim that the right placement is made at the right time for the right child at the right cost. If are to match the Secretary of State's ambitions we need to be bold and address all the issues we face reforming not only children's homes but Children's Services more widely.
Barnardo's believes that the scandal of child poverty in this country will only be tackled when action is taken to improve both the income and the access to services that the poorest families have. We know that money matters to the poorest families - especially when rising living costs, stagnating wages, a weak labour market and spending cuts are placing more pressure on them than ever before. Many families in poverty in the UK live on just £12 per person per day after housing costs. That £12 has to stretch to cover everything: food, electricity, water, gas, bus fares.
In 2013 and over the next few years, I predict that many places will regret the abolition of their LSPs and other places will be creating new local partnership and collaborative arrangements. What they are called is of little matter but what they can achieve can be very significant and relevant to local communities, businesses and citizens. And surely that is the whole point?
The Public Services Reform White Paper is something I very much welcome. But one lesson we need to learn from Southern Cross is that if private companies are to be encouraged to manage the care of vulnerable people, funded in part by the taxpayer, they should have to satisfy financial viability criteria as well as meeting the normal regulatory requirements around quality of care.