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Odgers Interim Public Sector Drinks Reception

26 September 2014

“Virtual reality local authority model would help tailor services to properly protect vulnerable young people in the UK”

Last night Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder and director of Kids Company, joined us at our Public Sector Reception at the Royal College of Surgeons and spoke to an audience of Public Sector executives and leaders about the radical shakeup that she believes is needed across all children’s services. Camila shared her vision and potential solution; the creation of a virtual reality local authority that would help to identify the most pressing/common needs and implement the best structures to help properly protect vulnerable young people. She believes only targeted actions such as this will ensure that scandals like the ones unfolding in Rotherham, and in other towns across the UK, never happen again.

In her speech, Camila outlined how she has persistently spoken up about the fact that vulnerable children are being let down by the very agencies that are supposed to protect them. Since Kids Company’s inception some 18 years ago, she has constantly warned that children are used as drug mules and that social services, as well as child mental health agencies, have not had sufficient capacity to deal with the scale of childhood maltreatment in Britain.

Camila passionately communicated that we are now seeing manifestations of some of those concerns with childcare professionals and police in Rochdale, Rotherham, Oxford and many other local authorities being found to have failed vulnerable children who were being sexually exploited. Parallel to this, concerns are - of course - emerging of historic sexual abuse potentially involving politicians, senior figures in judiciary and the entertainment world. 

In her talk, Camila outlined her vision and solution which will be delivered by the ‘See the Child. Change the System’ campaign.

After inviting the Centre for Social Justice to conduct an independent 400 page report on the failings in children’s services (called Enough is Enough) Camila and her team launched ‘See the Child. Change the System’ which has brought together leading practitioners in children's services to redesign child mental health and social care provision; keeping what's good and boldly transforming what needs to change. She has the backing of the business world which is funding the taskforce she is currently setting up.

Its vision is to establish a virtual reality local authority and then plot all the services needed, economically model them and pilot the model in two local authorities with an ultimate national rollout. This approach would allow clinicians and social workers to create the structures they believe work best with the young people they help.

Camila told the assembled audience that this radical approach is needed in order to give the 1.5million children who are thought to be maltreated in Britain the most meaningful solutions.

Camila said: “Children who have been maltreated deserve to have their courage matched by our ability to dream and implement the best child protection recovery programmes for them.”

Bambos Eracleous, Partner at Odgers Interim, added: “Recent high profile cases have once again highlighted the pressures on resources and subsequent shortcomings within children’s social services and Camila has been consistently vocal and innovative when advocating the need for change. As evidenced through her talk, her tireless work and commitment, and those of many others involved with the care of children, can only be admired.”


Categories: Local Government, Central Government, Education, Healthcare, Social Housing


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