Page last updated at 18:26 GMT, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 19:26 UK

Safeguarding children debate

The government's policies on child protection are "somewhat incoherent", shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg has said.

Opening an opposition day debate on the safeguarding of children on 13 June 2012, he queried the coalition's move to introduce "adoption scorecards", which set out how swiftly children in need of adoption are placed for adoption in each local authority area.

"On the one hand they say they want to reduce bureaucracy and red tape, but on the other hand they are introducing adoption scorecards for every local authority," he added.

There might be "unintended consequences", he warned.

Mr Twigg said there needed to be a "robust framework" for training and continuing professional development for social workers and other staff.

He said that while achievement was important, so too was the broader wellbeing of children and young people.

As the wide-ranging debate continued, Children's Minister Tim Loughton focused on the sexual exploitation of children, which he described as a "real problem in this country" that had been taboo for too long.

"Few local authorities had much idea about how prevalent child sexual exploitation was in their areas and as a result there was a real and tragic failure to grasp the scale of the problem," he told MPs.

At the end of the debate, MPs approved Labour's motion, calling on the government to ensure that the needs of the child are at the centre of all assessments and decision-making processes on safeguarding, without a vote.

The motion also asks the government to clarify who is responsible for implementing the measures included in new guidance on safeguarding.

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