May 28th, 2014
Privatising child protection services
By Robin Priestley
Would you trust private companies like G4S, Atos or Serco to look after vulnerable children? Or to influence decisions about taking children into care? Protecting children is one of the most difficult and sensitive roles for a government to perform. But education secretary Michael Gove is consulting on whether to outsource this role to profit making companies.
If we want to stop this, we don’t have long – the consultation closes this Friday. So far, the issue’s had very little media coverage, and the consultation has barely been publicised. If thousands of us write in today, we can show Michael Gove that we’re watching – and make sure he drops these plans.
Decisions by child protection professionals affect lives and can break up families, these decisions should be kept miles away from any hint of a profit motive. Adoption services have already been protected from privatisation. And there’s no evidence to suggest that outsourcing services is a good idea anyway.
The government’s proposal argues that letting private companies provide children’s services will encourage innovation. But we all saw the mess that G4S made of providing security at the Olympics, would we really want them to care for vulnerable children’s lives?
Experts have already voiced outrage at the plans, now we need to hammer the message home with people power. Previously when 38 Degrees members have responded to Michael Gove’s consultations, our voices have been heard loud and clear. Last year, he dropped his plans to remove climate change from school curriculums after we wrote in our thousands to oppose them.