Keith Danby, Chief Executive, Safe Families for Children UK.Safe Families for Children UK has welcomed a report calling for council and health authorities to work in closer partnership with the voluntary and charity sectors.

The report, which was commissioned by the Department for Health, NHS England and Public Health England, has been drawn from the results of a consultation with 300 participants, into the interaction of the voluntary sector with health and social care. The report’s conclusions stress the need for greater partnership working between the public and voluntary sector, with reforms suggested to facilitate greater union.

Safe Families for Children UK seeks to prevent children from needlessly being taken into care by providing early intervention support to struggling families. The charity works in partnership with 20 local authority children’s services departments across England.

Keith Danby, Chief Executive of Safe Families said: “Knowledge and expertise in the voluntary and charitable sectors is often overlooked, so it’s heartening to see authorities partnering with third sector organisations and recognising the important part they can play in social services and health. We all want to see the outcomes for children and families improve and by working hand-in-hand we believe that can and will happen.”

The report made a number of recommendations including changes to the way public and voluntary sector relationships are funded and emphasising the importance of social value in the strategic planning process.

Keith Danby further stated: “The value of the third sector to social services cannot be overstated. By using volunteers from the community to work alongside families we provide a community-based solution to a community-based problem.

“Children’s services across the UK are struggling against the tide and authorities are under pressure and strain. Charities like Safe Families can alleviate the pressure on children’s services, allowing them to better focus their resources where they are most needed.”

The number of ‘looked after’ children in the UK has been increasing for the past five years, reaching 69,550 at the end of 2015, an increase of 6% on the 2011 figure.

Keith Danby added: “When a child enters the care system, the social and financial implications are huge, and so is the impact on social workers’ caseloads. Local authorities everywhere are trying to address growing problems and ensure that their service provision is the best it can be – the charitable sector can provide many compelling solutions.”