Proposals to broaden the scope of Worcestershire Children First

Hands Published Wednesday, 7th November 2018

Proposals to broaden the scope of a new company to deliver children's social care in Worcestershire will be discussed by Worcestershire Council Council's Cabinet on 15 November.

Earlier this year, Cabinet agreed to the development of a wholly owned council company called Worcestershire Children First. This decision was in response to a statutory direction from the Department for Education to move services to a different delivery model to help sustain improvement.

As part of the development of the company a full review has been carried out resulting in a recommendation to widen the scope of the functions and services transferring into Worcestershire Children First.

Councillor Andy Roberts, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families, said: "Our priority is to improve the lives of all children and young people in Worcestershire. We think that we will be able to do that more effectively by keeping all of our children services together when the new company is formed, which will have a single unwavering focus on our children and young people."

Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families, said: "The proposed inclusion of education in the scope will maintain the opportunities of effective integration of services, including those for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).  Keeping the link with educational services and children’s social is also more cost effective. However, what is most important are the benefits for our children and young people."

Worcestershire Children First is scheduled to go live on 1 October 2019.

Last month the latest monitoring visit to Worcestershire children’s services by Ofsted Inspectors found that the Council is continuing to make progress in improving services for children and young people.

The proposed list of additional functions includes:

•Education Services (including provision planning, accommodation, commissioning and safeguarding advice)
•Early Help Services (including those provided by the Council and not those commissioned by Public Health)
•Commissioning of services for vulnerable children and families
•Commissioning of community health services (subject to agreement from Worcestershire's Clinical Commissioning Groups)
•Virtual School
•Services for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities
•Participation and engagement
•Facilitation of the implementation of Worcestershire's Children and Young People Plan (this plan is still signed off by the Health and Wellbeing Board and Full Council)