Government accused of allowing ‘back door’ privatisation of Child Protection

| June 30, 2014

Children and Young People



By  Neil Puffett, June 2014



Private companies will be able to deliver child protection services under controversial government plans via the “back door” by setting up separate subsidiaries, it has been claimed.

f498a57c-d69e-36fb-bfbc953702f15aee-gifThe government wants to give councils the freedom to outsource delivery of services including child protection. Picture: MorgueFile

Just last week the government announced that only non-profit organisations will be allowed to deliver child protection services as part of efforts to give councils more freedom in the way they work with vulnerable children.

But details of the proposed changes laid down in parliament reveal that profit-making companies will not be prevented from “setting up a separate non-profit making subsidiary to enable them to undertake such functions”.

Helga Pile, national officer for social care at Unison, said: “The government claims to have listened to concerns from charities, organisations and professionals over their reckless plans to turn child protection into a profit-making venture.

“But the truth is they have left a back door open for profit-making companies to set up their own non-profit subsidiaries to take over the critical and sensitive function of deciding how best to protect vulnerable children.
“There is a huge risk that the likes of Serco and G4S could create these subsidiaries as part of their wider businesses. These companies could end up making a profit out of vulnerable children and their families.”
Pile said there is an “obvious conflict of interest” as some private companies also run children’s homes.
Kathy Evans, chief executive of Children England, said that private companies could still profit from children’s social care contracts by setting up non-profit subsidiaries and channelling funds back to parent firms.
“Local authorities should expect full prior disclosure of any contractor’s corporate relationships, and should be able to specify that any surplus is reinvested in support for local children and young people,” she said.
“We fully support, therefore, the recent report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life which emphasises the need to ensure that outsourcing, if and when appropriate, has public interests – in this case, those of children – at heart.”

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