Children England News
Maddie Henson has joined the 4in10 team as Community Outreach Officer after having worked for most of her working life in local politics. She brings a wealth of experience in the voluntary and public sectors and has specialised in children’s services. She is a mum to two boys and has a life-long commitment to creating a better world for our children.
UBI for care leavers
Congratulations to Wales, where the Minister for Social Justice has announced that its pilot of a Universal Basic Income for young people leaving care will start on 1st July. Over 500 young people leaving care who turn 18 between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023 will be eligible to receive 24 monthly payments at a value of £1,600 per month pre tax, starting the month after their eighteenth birthday.
Minister Jane Hutt said "The pilot is not only about supplying money to recipients... The care leavers we've been engaging with were clear that all young people eligible to take part in the pilot should be offered access to consistent, independent, quality-assured financial advice and support throughout their engagement in the pilot. We've therefore developed a package of financial advice and support for care leavers who are taking part in this pilot."
The government will ensure young people's lived experiences are central to an evaluation of the pilot.
Government and Parliamentary News
A national plan for music education
The government has published The Power of Music to Change Lives, its non-statutory plan for music education building on its 2011 strategy for Music Hubs across England. The plan includes:
Investment in sports
- £25 million investment in around 200,000 musical instruments and equipment, including music technology, as digital music platforms continue to break down barriers to equitable access to music education.
- a designated music lead or head of department at school and/or academy trust level, for primary and secondary phases, plus a Music Development Plan for every school.
- a Music Progression Fund to support disadvantaged pupils with significant musical potential, enthusiasm and commitment - delivered through schools and Music Hubs from Autumn 2023, with match-funded government investment over four years.
- the establishment of four national Music Hub centres of excellence for inclusion, CPD, music technology and pathways to industry, based in Music Hubs and with additional funding to provide specialist support to all Music Hubs across England.
- schools are asked to provide at least one hour of music curriculum a week.
The Department for Education and Department for Health and Social Care have also announced investment of £320 million for primary schools in 2022 and 2023 to give more children access to high quality PE lessons and sporting opportunities. £11 million will also support the continuation of the School Games programme to give particularly passionate and talented young people the opportunity to participate in competitive sport.
Evaluating innovation in children's social care
The National Audit Office has published its report on the strengths of the Department for Education’s overall approach to funding and evaluating innovation projects. Rather than looking at the value for money of the DfE's innovation projects, it looked at how well the Department used evaluation in its policy development process.
It concluded: "The Department showed good practice in embedding evaluation into the projects it funded from an early stage and in publishing academic assessments, which were often critical of the quality of these evaluations. While the Department has faced practical challenges to securing robust evaluations of its interventions, working with What Works for Children’s Social Care it has been able to improve the sophistication of its evaluations over time and demonstrate its long-term commitment to evaluation. It has also been able to draw on the evidence from the Innovation Programme to select a number of more promising projects for wider roll-out within the sector."
Local government calls for support with SEND costs
Following last week's figures showing a rise in the number of children who need support with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the Local Government Association has called for emergency action at its annual conference. It asks central government to:
- Scrap the high needs deficits councils have built up, as a result of the spiralling costs of providing support outstripping the SEND budgets available to councils
- Boost the inclusion of pupils with SEND in mainstream schools
- This needs to include incentives for mainstream schools to take in more children with SEND as well as powers for councils to hold schools to account for the support they provide.
Sector News and Publications
Fears for children's rights in new Bill of Rights
CYP Now has reported on the concerns of children's organisations including Children England and also the Children's Commissioner for England that the new Bill of Rights, introduced by government to replace the Human Rights Act, will erode protections of children's rights. Children England is one of 150 organisations to sign a letter led by Liberty calling for the Bill to be given pre-legislative scrutiny, as have several cross-parliamentary committees, given the Bill heralds such significant constitutional changes and alterations to the rights of individuals.
Implementing the Care Review
As the Care Review team closes its work down and the government takes the lead on implementing changes in the care system, children's minister Will Quince has offered some detail on the composition of the National Implementation Board, reported by CYP Now. The Board will include outgoing chair of the Review Josh MacAlister as well as representation from Ofsted and people with lived experience of the care system as nominated by the large children's charities. Additionally, the minister plans to include people with expertise in implementing 'transformational change'.
Transport for Freedom
“If I pay for the bus, I haven’t got enough money for food shopping or to put gas and electric on so I can’t really afford to get the bus.”
Barnardo’s knows through its frontline work that too often, leaving the care system can be a lonely and isolating experience. Having access to local public transport can make a real difference in helping with access to work, education, childcare, and medical appointments – as well as maintaining relationships with families and friends. Yet with the average weekly bus pass costing £18 (a third of the weekly Universal Credit payment to under 25s) bus travel can sometimes seem like a luxury which care leavers cannot afford.
Barnardo’s has published a new report Transport for Freedom alongside a video from care leavers explaining the difference that having access to free bus travel would make to their lives. It has also launched a petition calling on the government to make bus travel free for all care leavers up to the age of 25.
How the cost of living crisis is affecting households on the lowest incomes
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published new analysis of the toll taken by the current cost of living crisis on the 40% of households on the lowest incomes. It finds families turning to credit to cover essentials, falling behind on payments and missing both heating and eating rather than choosing between the two. It also finds the government is causing severe hardship by using the benefit system to collect some debts, often at unaffordable rates. People forced to have these ‘debt deductions’ are suffering more severely than families on benefits without them. JRF recommends:
- The Government must immediately stop deducting benefits at unaffordable rates, which further reduces the already low level of support available to families. And it shouldn't be taking deductions to repay central Government (DWP/HMRC) debts at higher rates than it expects for other creditors:
- The cap on total deductions from the Standard Allowance of Universal Credit should be lowered from 25% to 15%
- Within this, deductions to repay debt to central government should be capped at 5% of the Standard Allowance
- The Government should increase basic Universal Credit entitlements to ensure it always, at a minimum, enables people to afford the essentials when they fall on hard times
Charity banking survey: the results
Thank you to everyone who completed the Civil Society Group's survey of charities' experience of banking, which produced such a wealth of insight that a series of briefings is being prepared to explain the findings. The first one is available now, and covers the findings that:
- Services that charities need are increasingly unavailable
- Services that are available are not suited to the way that charities operate
- Charities often encounter poor customer service
- Online banking is not designed for or accessible to charities
Pro Bono Economics' Data First Aid service is open for new applications
Is your charity struggling to tell a story with your data or to transform it into impactful visual designs? Do you need your data analysed or simply want to know how to make the most of your spreadsheets?
The good news is PBE could match your charity with a dedicated volunteer economist to help you with your ad hoc data needs - all free of charge. That might include data analysis or visualisation, spreadsheet task automation or short pieces of research. The team will discuss your needs to create an advert which will be posted to over 800 volunteer economists, as well as on PBE social media channels. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out if this service is right for your charity or visit the PBE website to find out more and apply.
At Just for Kids Law
Youth Advocate x 2
Contract: 12 month fixed-term contract (with possibility of extension)
Location: Central London
Hours: Full time (35 hours per week)
Salary: £28,700 - £32,800 (dependent on experience in directly equivalent role)
Deadline: 11.59pm on Sunday 10th July 2022
The role of the Youth Advocate is to provide high quality, holistic advocacy support, amplifying the voice of children and young people in challenging situations and supporting them to communicate their wishes and feelings to professionals in their lives and to have these taken seriously. Youth Advocates also provide accurate information, including access to specialist support, to enable young people to make informed decisions within and outside of Just for Kids Law. The advocate does this by working relationally with young people, being a positive, reliable and boundaried professional, providing pastoral support where needed, and supporting children and young people to develop skills and confidence to advocate for themselves.
At Young Citizens
Trustees (including Young Trustees) x 4
Deadline: 9am, 4th July
We are looking for up to four new trustees to join our talented Board of senior leaders to help to steer the charity through a time of exciting change and development. In particular, we would like to recruit at least one young person aged 18-25 who is passionate about encouraging young people to take an active part in society.
Being a trustee at Young Citizens is a rewarding and exciting experience. With around 20 employees and 2,500 volunteers based across the UK, you’ll join a strong network of people dedicated to spreading the citizenship message.
Trustees not only help safeguard the charity over time but help the organisation and team thrive through their advice, strategic guidance and insight. Successful candidates will work with our leadership team to support the planning and development of an ambitious five-year strategy.
Events, training and consultancy services
At Children England:
Children England Member Forum: the Care Experienced Movement
Bookings close on Friday at 9am.
Leaders of Children England member organisations are warmly invited to book your place at our upcoming Member Forum, where you can find out about the newly established Care Experienced Movement.
They describe themselves: "We are a force of care experienced people coming together to take back ownership over what it means to be care experienced. We want our Care Experienced community up on the platform it rightfully deserves to be on, to use their own voices."
Hear from them, bring questions and discuss how children's charities can support their mission.
Date: Wednesday 6th July
Time: 3 - 4pm
Online - link will be sent to participants
Book your free place here
Or contact us to check your membership status.
From NCVO and the Lloyds Bank Foundation:
The Procurement Bill: what it means for the voluntary sector
Date: Tuesday 12th July
Time: 10.30am - 11.30am
In May Government published a new Procurement Bill. The Bill sets out the new procurement rules that Government are intending to apply to how all contracting authorities select and pay for public services. This session will provide:
- an overview of the ambitions of the Bill and key changes that are planned
- an overview of key areas of the Bill where we are keen to influence further change
- an overview of how the Bill will progress and how you can get involved in influencing
- a chance to discuss your priorities for the Bill and how these can feed into sector influencing
At Healthcare Conferences UK
CAMHS National Summit 2022
Date: Thursday 22nd September
This national conference focuses on transforming mental health services for children and young people, ensuring early intervention, and developing integrated services with clear care pathways from first intervention to crisis and inpatient care. The conference will also look at national developments and learning from the Covid-19 pandemic and how CAMHS has had to adapt and innovate to provide effective care. The conference will address suicide prevention and learning from suicide and also safeguarding and CAMHS.
Get a 20% discount with code hcuk20che.
Sexual abuse and mental health: reducing the impact of sexual abuse on mental health
Date: Friday 18th November 2022
Researched and produced in collaboration with Paul Scates Peer Specialist, Campaigner and Survivor of Sexual Abuse, this important and timely conference focuses on the important issue of sexual abuse and mental health and reducing the impact of abuse on mental health. National updates, survivor perspectives, expert sessions and practical case studies will cover many areas including:
Get a 20% discount with code hcuk20che.
- The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown on sexual abuse and mental health
- Meeting the national commitment to ensure victims of sexual abuse receive a lifetime of effective mental health care
- Helping reduce the impact of abuse on later mental health problems
- Reflecting on the lived experience from a survivor perspective
- What does a gold standard sexual abuse pathway look like?
- Delivering a recovery focused approach for survivors
Children England's news bulletin is produced weekly and is designed to keep you up to date with the latest developments in children and families policy.
If you or your organisation have new research, campaigns or policy development in children and families work that you'd like us to share, send us the details and we'll include it in Children England News.