Laura Sharman 11 December 2020

West Sussex to keep control of children’s services for at least 12 months

West Sussex County Council will keep control of its children’s services for at least another year following improvements made, the Department for Education (DfE) has said.

In 2019, the council was ordered to place its ‘inadequate’ children’s services into a separate trust following a damning Ofsted review.

The DfE has now issued a new statutory direction saying this move will be ‘paused’ for at least a year after the council made enough progress in improving services.

Council leader, Paul Marshall, said: ‘Whilst it was focused on children’s services, the original report made it clear that it was our corporate conditions that were not allowing children’s services to succeed. This news today, therefore, shows just how much progress has been made across the organisation.

’To have both Hampshire County Council as our partner in practice and East Sussex County Council as our corporate Improvement partner has made a huge difference to us and I want to thank them for their support and their expertise.’

However, children’s minister Vicky Ford warned that there was still much more to do. She said: ‘It is clear that there is still much work to do to address the weaknesses identified in 2019, and bring the standard of service up to the quality that children and families in West Sussex deserve.’

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