Council to transfer children's services to new company

Sunderland City Council has announced its decision to set up a new organisation to deliver its children's services, following a poor Ofsted report last year.

The report branded the council 'inadequate' across a range of services including child protection, adoption, and children in care. By next April, education, children’s social care and early help services will be operational under the new company.

A similar situation was seen in May, with children’s services at Birmingham City Council being transferred to a trust after being branded a ‘national disgrace’ by inspectors.

Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, 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, added: “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.”