Lord’s Public Services Committee appeals to key Secretaries of State to help vulnerable children

In spring this year, the Lord’s Public Services Committee conducted an inquiry into ‘the role of public services in addressing childhood vulnerability’. As part of this, Our Time provided oral evidence highlighting children who have a parent with mental illness.

With the help and voices of young people who have lived experience both through focus groups and live testimonials, the charity provided compelling evidence as to why these young people can often be considered some of the most vulnerable in society and yet do not receive specific support. You can find more details of our submission here.

The committee submitted a letter in August to Secretaries of State Gavin Williamson MP, Sajid Javid MP and Robert Jenrick MP urging them to make a joint bid to HM Treasury on the underlying causes of childhood vulnerability.

The recommendations are as follows:

“Based on the clear and compelling evidence that we have heard so far, we recommend that the Department for Education (DfE), the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) work closely with the Treasury to put forward a trial joint bid for a multi-year funding allocation to address the underlying causes of child vulnerability. Time is tight before the forthcoming Spending Review, and it is imperative that departments act urgently to submit a bid. Their proposals should include a data-sharing arrangement as well as an outcomes and evaluation framework which are shared between the three departments.

A strategy for the national roll-out of the Government’s Family Hub programme should be the prime focus of such a joint bid. While responsibility for Family Hubs currently sits with DfE, the success of the programme will be dependent on its ability to integrate health care and public health priorities – such as health visiting and maternity services – with social services and the Supporting Families programme. The expansion of Family Hubs will only be effective if it is co-delivered by the three departments responsible for these agencies – DfE, DHSC and MHCLG. A joint bid is the best available mechanism to facilitate integrated working and shared outcomes between the three departments.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Home Office should be closely consulted on the content of the joint bid to ensure that it aligns with their work on child poverty and child criminal exploitation.”

The letter builds on the evidence that the committee has heard so far before the full report from the inquiry is released in the autumn.