To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 9 November (HL3490), what assessment they have made of (1) the effects on children in care of waiting for the final report of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) before taking steps to address the issues identified in the interim report, and (2) the interim report's finding that some children in care are being housed in unsuitable accommodation; and what steps they intend to take, if any, to address issues identified by the CMA's interim report before the final report is completed.
22 November 2021
The interim report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is welcome but we are not waiting for the final report before acting. Every child in care deserves to live in accommodation that meets their needs and keeps them safe. Councils are responsible for providing suitable, safe accommodation for vulnerable children in their care. As part of the Spending Review, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced investment of £259 million to help them meet this duty, by increasing the number of places in open and secure children’s homes. This builds on work that has already started to maintain capacity and expand provision in existing secure children’s homes, alongside new capital funding to help councils create new homes. We have also consulted on national minimum standards for any unregulated provision accommodating 16 or 17 year olds
The government is also undertaking a widescale review of children’s social care, taking a fundamental look at the needs, experiences, and outcomes of the children it supports, and what is needed to make a real difference. The review will be bold, broad, and independently led, taking a fundamental look across children’s social care, with the aim of better supporting, protecting and improving the outcomes of vulnerable children and young people. The review will be evidenced based and bring together a broad range of expertise.
The department is engaging with the CMA and the independent review of social care, and will respond to both sets of recommendations when available.