Children's Services update
This page brings together the latest information about developments in Children's Services and the project to set-up a new company to deliver those services in the city.
Together for Children was launched on 1 April 2017. The company has been set up by Sunderland City Council to build on the improvements it has made since an Ofsted inspection report in July 2015 found services to be inadequate.
For more information on the new company visit www.togetherforchildren.org.uk
The company will provide integrated children's services covering education, children's social care and early help to the city's 57,630 children and young people and their families.
Plans for the new organisation were developed by the City Council in partnership with Nick Whitfield, the Government's Commissioner for Children's Services and the Department for Education (DfE).
More than 800 staff across a wide range of disciplines and professions are transferring to the new company from the council from 1 April. These include social care staff, early years, family support, education and other specialists such as youth offending and substance misuse.
The company is owned by and is accountable to the council, but has its own board of directors who will set the direction of the company, supervise the management of the business and hold the management team to account.
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.
Significant improvements since the 2015 Ofsted inspection include:
• A permanent senior management structure in place to support the delivery of safe and effective services
• A reduction in the number of unallocated cases from 269 at the time of the 2015 inspection to just nine at the end of January 2017
• Average caseloads down to 19 in January 2017 compared to between 30 to 40 in 2015
• 92 per cent of child protection visits completed in ten working days, compared with 55 per cent completed in 28 days in 2015
• 96 per cent of care leavers now have a pathway plan compared to 69 per cent in November 2015
• Ongoing recruitment programme with recruitment and retention targets in place
Management Team and contacts
The new company will be run by Alex Hopkins, alongside a team of five highly experienced directors and children's services staff who have transferred from the council.
Alex joined the council as Director of Children's Services from Northamptonshire County Council and has a proven record in transforming Children's Services.
For full details of the leadership team and Board of Directors: http://www.togetherforchildren.org.uk/about/leadership
Find out more