Drawing on unique access to prominent policy makers including ministers, senior civil servants, local authority directors, and the leaders of children’s sector NGOs, Purcell re-examines two decades of children’s services reform under both Labour and Conservative-led governments.
He closely examines the origins of Labour’s Every Child Matters programme, the Munro review and more recent Conservative reforms affecting child and family social workers to reassess the impact of high profile child abuse cases, including Victoria Climbié and Baby P, and reveal the party political drivers of successive reform.
“This book would be of interest to anyone with a stake in child welfare or children’s services. It should also be considered relevant to those with an interest in policy development or policy theory more generally as there are lessons and correlations to be drawn with many areas of policy.” Joe Hanley, Critical and Radical Social Work.
“As an historical document it is all there. In a decade’s time a scholar wanting to map out these 20 years of children’s policy will find Purcell the go to source.” Michael Little, Adoption and Fostering.
“Purcell presents a thorough and coherent story about how agendas are managed, implemented and funded, while helping the reader to understand the power of the central government to set targets that local administrations must grapple with.” Peter Choate, British Journal of Social Work
“Erudite and relevant to all immersed in helping children and families. It gives a riveting account of developments and debates and describes the journey which has created the context for today’s children’s services. An impressive book that will have currency well into the future.” Ray Jones, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London
"This book is a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in recent child welfare policy. Drawing on an impressive range of high level interviewees, Purcell provides a readable and coherent account of child welfare policy making with valuable insights that illuminate the contemporary situation." Nick Frost, Leeds Beckett University
“This is an invaluable synopsis of the last two decades of what has often been a frenetic urge to legislate against child abuse. Carl Purcell’s expert analysis shows that it has often amounted to quantity at the expense of quality, which has often had the effect of overwhelming and distracting the professionals at the sharp end from getting on with their challenging job. It is an invaluable lesson for many, well beyond just child safeguarding, that legislating against something does not automatically mean it no longer happens.” Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing & Shoreham and former Children’s Minster (2010-12)
Carl Purcell is a Research Associate in the Health and Social Care Workforce Research Unit within the Policy Institute at King’s College London.
Foreword by Sir Paul Ennals
Chapter 1 – What Drives Children’s Services Reform?;
Children’s Services Reform under the Labour Government (1997-2010);
Chapter 2 – The Labour Leadership and Children’s Policy;
Chapter 3 – Structural Reform and the Victoria Climbié Inquiry;
Chapter 4- Every Child Matters and the Children Act 2004;
Chapter 5- Delivering Change for Children;
Chapter 6- The Children’s Plan, Broken Britain and Baby P;
Children’s Services Reform under the Coalition and Conservative Governments (2010-2019);
Chapter 7 – The Priorities of the Coalition and Conservative Government Leaders;
Chapter 8 – Schools’ Reform and Early Intervention;
Chapter 9 – The Reform of Child and Family Social Work;
Conclusion: The Politics of Children’s Services Reform;
Appendix: Chronology of Key Reports;