Government backing for support of vulnerable children

A partnership between Kirklees Council and Leeds City Council, which is helping to improve the support for vulnerable children across Kirklees, has received official government backing.

The partnership has been developing for several months and will now become formal after being approved by Robert Goodwill MP, Minister of State for Children and Families.

A Children’s Commissioner was appointed to work with Kirklees Council following an Ofsted inspection in the autumn of 2016.

The role of the Commissioner, Eleanor Brazil, was to review children’s services, to help drive improvement and to make a recommendation to government about future ways of working.

The Commissioner recommended a formal partnership with Leeds City Council, who were already supporting Kirklees children’s services to drive and sustain improvement.

The government has now agreed with the Commissioner’s view, and it is expected that the partnership will be in place for up to three years.

Cllr David Sheard, Leader of Kirklees Council, said:

“The work we are doing with Leeds is already reaping benefits for local children and families, so we are delighted that the government has endorsed our direction of travel.

“Developing children’s services in Kirklees remains a top priority and the Minister has praised both councils for showing a proactive and positive approach.

“The government did have the option of pursuing a different way forward and placing our children’s services into a Trust, so it is excellent that they have instead confirmed a public sector solution which leaves us in control of our own services.

“The partnership was initiated locally, is jointly led and is already a long way down the road. Although there is a great deal still to achieve, it is helping us to make vital progress in our support for children and families.”

Leeds City Council’s children’s services are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, with ‘outstanding’ leadership and management.

Cllr Erin Hill, Kirklees Cabinet member for Children, said:

“Together we have found a local solution which we are confident will prove successful and deliver long-term improvements.

“There were no guarantees that the government would endorse our partnership, even after several months of hard work, so this is an important milestone and will make a real difference to children, young people and families in Kirklees.”



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