Mark Whitehead 23 June 2016

Sunderland Council to transfer children's services to new company

Sunderland has decided to set up a new organisation to deliver its children's services.

The council hopes the new company will be fully operational by next April running education, children’s social care and early help services.

The decision follows a damning Ofsted report last year which branded the council 'inadequate' across a range of services including child protection, adoption, and children in care.

It pointed to corporate failure by senior leaders and managers that left children and young people potentially at risk.

Last month children’s services at Birmingham City Council were transferred to a trust after being branded a ‘national disgrace’ by inspectors, and Sandwell is planning a similar move after its service was rated inadequate.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Paul Watson, said: 'We recognise that there is a need for a fundamental change in the way we deliver services for children to ensure the best possible future for children and young people in the city.

'We believe this is the best way of helping deliver the services children and young people need to live safe, happy, healthy and successful lives.'

Nick Whitfield, commissioner for children's services in Sunderland, said: 'Sunderland is the first council to look at voluntarily transferring its services out of council control in co-operation with the Department for Education so the new company will be the first of its type in the country.

'The council has been very co-operative in recognising the need to do something different and that is something it deserves credit for.

'This is a real opportunity to deliver innovative children's services that can ensure further improvement and sustained delivery.'

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