Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The NCB and CDC respond to our letter about the Children and Families Act

On this blog, on 17 July, we expressed our disappointment and concern that Ms Lenehan, the Director of the Council for Disabled Children, had not responded to a letter we had sent regarding the lack of evidence supporting the Children and Families Act reforms. You can read that post here.

We wrote to Ms Lenehan because we had been unable to find any data to support her contention that the Children and Families Act was an "important step to getting better outcomes for children and young people". Our letter was sent on 22 March and you can read it here.

The lack of response led us to write directly to the National Children's Bureau (NCB) because the CDC is governed by NCB’s Board of Trustees. Our letter to the NCB can be read here.

We have now received a response from the NCB which they have agreed we can publish. You can read it here.

Then, yesterday, we also received a response from Ms Lenehan which she has also given permission for us to share with you. The response can be read here.

We are grateful that Ms Lenehan has now replied. We have acknowledged this and have responded by explaining firstly:

"Our numerous concerns about the conduct and pace of this legislation are well-documented, see, for example, our comments here Additionally, our aims and identities are clearly set out on our website. I am sure you are aware from your engagement with parents and carers that these reforms have caused significant concern - only last week SEN Jungle's post highlighted significant misgivings about the introduction of Independent Supporters."

Secondly, we have noted Ms Lenehan's offer of a meeting which we will discuss as a committee although our preference is always for open meetings with broad invitations to all interested parents/carers/young people.

Finally, we have explained to Ms Lenehan that we are still concerned that our question about the evidence supporting these reforms has not been answered.

So we thanked Ms Lenehan and said:

"You will, however, be aware that the question we raised back in March was very specific: we asked if you could provide evidence to support your contention that the Children and Families Act will improve outcomes for children and young people. Your belated response does not provide an answer and this is disappointing. We think our very reasonable question should be addressed head-on as a clear response would be a tremendously helpful aid to open dialogue on these reforms."

Why is it so difficult to identify evidence supporting Ms Lenehan's statement? Is it because no such data exists?

If this is the case, we really think parents deserve to know.

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