To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any local authorities have been instructed to privatise social work services; and if so, by which Department.
No local authorities have been instructed to privatise social work. Where a local authority is judged to be failing in its provision and delivery of children’s services, the Secretary of State has a discretionary power to intervene under the Education Act 1996, as applied by section 50 of the Children Act 2004. This may include directing the local authority to review its children’s services operations and commissioning procedures, and this may include the delivery of specified functions by another body.
The powers under Part 1 of the 2008 Children and Young Persons Act and associated regulations are quite different and provide for local authorities to delegate children’s social care functions to third parties on a voluntary basis. We have not instructed any local authorities to delegate their functions under these provisions.