A new company to deliver children’s services has been set up by Sunderland City Council following an ‘inadequate’ rating by Ofsted back in July 2015.
Together for Children will cover education, children's social care and early help services, and will see more than 800 staff transferred to the company from the council.
Nick Whitfield, the government appointed Commissioner for Children's Services in Sunderland, said: ‘Sunderland is the first council in the country to voluntarily transfer the day to day running of children's services out of council control in co-operation with the DfE, so Together for Children is unique and I look forward to seeing it continue to build on the steady progress that has been made so far.’
The council said a significant number of improvements have already been made since the damning Ofsted inspection, including a new senior management structure, a reduction in the number of unallocated cases and a reduction in average caseloads.
Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: ‘We recognised early on that there was a need for a fundamental change in the way children's services were delivered to ensure the best possible future for our children and young people.
‘There has been a tremendous amount of hard work to improve the service since July 2015, with some significant improvements, and the last three Ofsted monitoring visits have all reported steady progress.’