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Must knows for children’s services

These 'must knows' are a long-standing source of information and support for those working in children's services.

Leaders of councils

Is your council in a strong position to continue to improve outcomes for children and young people and their families? This guide, specifically developed for the council leader, has been shaped by current and former leaders, lead members and chief executives with experience of children’s services improvement.

Corporate Core cross working

This guidance has been developed for each of the following areas: finance, human resources (HR), information technology (IT) and legal. The intention is to further support and strengthen the development of a strong corporate and whole council approach to delivering effective services for children.


When problems first arise in families, early help is not only beneficial for children but essential for making the best use of resources. The evidence from the LGA Productivity Programme, ‘Better for Less', indicates that transforming services to be more preventative and better targeted is the starting point for reducing the cost base.

The guide describes a six-phase process, which can be used flexibly by local authorities, taking into account existing structures, relationships and actions that are already in place to tackle obesity.

Despite considerable changes in national education policy and school organisation over recent years, councils retain the bulk of their statutory duties. They have a key role as champions of educational excellence for all children and young people in their areas.

Special educational needs and disability
Councils, schools, colleges and health services must work together to support children and young people with special needs and disabilities.

Youth services
Councils have a statutory duty to ‘secure, so far is reasonably practicable, equality of access for all young people to the positive, preventative and early help they need to improve their wellbeing', and to enable young people to lead their local offer. There are no longer separate inspections of local authority youth services.

What happens if your children's services are judged inadequate by Ofsted?
A council children's services department is likely to face central government intervention following an As children's services portfolio holder you hold political responsibility for the leadership, strategy and effectiveness of council children’s services and will work closely with the director of children’s services who carries the professional accountability.

Chief executives' 'must know' for children's services
This publication has been shaped by chief executives who are either former directors of children’s services or for other reasons have been closely associated with leading improvement journeys in council children’s services.