Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council: Civil Proceedings

Department for Education written question – answered on 26th July 2021.

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Photo of Lord Black of Brentwood Lord Black of Brentwood Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take in response to the judgment on Tameside MBC v L (Unavailability of Regulated Therapeutic Placement), made in the High Court on 5 July; and whether they will publish any action plan for dealing with the matters arising from this judgment.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Every child growing up in care should have a stable, secure environment where they feel supported and can thrive. The judgment in the case of Tameside MBC v L raises many concerns about the lack of available children’s home provision for some of the most vulnerable children in care.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to make sure there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of all children in their care. We understand that local authorities sometimes find themselves in positions where the most appropriate placement is difficult to access. This is why the government announced £24 million of investment at the Spending Review in November to start a programme of work to support local authorities maintain and expand provision in secure children’s homes. We are also currently developing a new capital funding programme for open residential children’s homes to aid local authorities to develop innovative approaches to reduce the number of children needing care over time, and to develop provision for children with more complex needs or children on remand.

The government launched a bold, broad and independently-led review, to take a comprehensive look at what is needed to make a real difference to the needs, experiences and outcomes of the children supported by children’s social care. The Care Review, led by Josh MacAlister, has now reached its first major milestone with the publication of its Case for Change, published on 17 June. The Case for Change recognises many of the issues raised in the judgment in this case. We eagerly await the review’s final report and recommendations, which will follow further consultation, analysis and public engagement. At that stage we will consider the review’s recommendations and any cost implications.

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