Joining Up Children’s Services

Improving services for children, protecting them and creating new local children’s centres, along similar lines of the neighbourhood services offices, was a strong manifesto commitment from 1984 through to 1987. This chapter describes the development of the children’s centres, and the organisational structures bringing the dispersed responsibilities for different aspects of care of children under the age of five into one division of the Council. This required complex changes to committee structures and staffing. Some of the changes that then are described through to 1996 were in response to national legislation and recommendations, other changes of plan were driven by the budget crises.
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Commitment and Structure
Combining All Services for Children
Controversial Charging for Places
Registering and Inspecting Other Providers
Joint Chairs and Administrative Sleight of Hand
Park Playgrounds and Play Provision
Chasing the Money
Children in Need
Restructuring the Nursery Service


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Editor’s Comments

The editing of this chapter has mostly been typographical and adding of sub-headings, but it has felt a little bit of a wrestle to get to grips with it. I have added some of the footnotes, in some case taking out things in parentheses and in other cases for clarification. I reworded the paragraph about providing playground equipment as part of planning gain and added the footnote about Section 106 agreements. I ended up looking up a lot of the legislation referred to, so have added all of the things I found in the Further Reading section.


[1] At the time, this seemed like ‘pie in the sky’ to some of us, but it was implemented nationally by the Labour government in 1997

[2] The first of the purpose-built children’s centres (in Rusholme) was opened in March 1989, and the final staffing structure for all the centres was approved that month by the Policy and Resources Committee. The capital works for the Moss Side Children’s Centre were agreed in September 1989.

[3] Nursery schools were not included in the 1988 Act. The seven nursery schools were Ancoats, Barnes Green, Collyhurst, Gresty, Martenscroft, Mayfair and Shakespeare (see later)

[4] See Appendix 17A for the list of chairs and deputies of the Children’s Service Committee 1990-1997.

[5] Mentioned earlier, the Beehive clubs were play centres in parks, established in the 1980s and named after the former director of recreation, Roy Bee.

[6] Bill Risby is mentioned a lot in chapters 1 and 2.

[7] Planning gain is an obligation on a developer, placed as part of the planning permission granted by a local authority, to include improvements that would make a positive contribution to the local area and community. This is covered by Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and generally referred to as a Section 106 agreement. Usually it is used for making up adjoining roads, roundabouts, crossings, street lighting and landscaping.

[8] Full title on the cover is ‘Seen But Not Heard – Co-ordinating Community Child Health and Social Services for Children in Need – Detailed Evidence and Guidelines for Managers and Practitioners’, Audit Commission, 1994. It is a 100 page document and was available, as of March 2016, as a PDF download from the National Archive.

[9] 1) Children and young people with disabilities; 2) Inter-agency arrangements for child protection; 3) Inter-relationship of Children and Families Division (CFD) and the Education Department provision for children away from home; 4) Inter-relationship between the Children’s Services Department and the services of CFD for young children.

[10] ‘Championing Children’ by John Rea and Gillian Pugh. Pub. NCB Autumn 1995

[11] Introduced as part of the Nursery Education and Grant-Maintained Schools Act 1996, withdrawn later in 1997 by the new Labour government.

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Further Reading

These links are on the subject of national legislation relating to children from the period:

Any inaccuracies or typos or comments? Add here:

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