Education

30.11.18

New children’s services commissioner takes over at Northamptonshire

The government has appointed a children’s services commissioner for Northamptonshire and issued a statutory direction to the county council requiring immediate improvement.

The direction follows a damning report from Ofsted which said that the council’s children’s services had declined “significantly” in the last two years after inspectors found social workers “overwhelmed” and “drowning.”

The Department for Education has appointed Malcolm Newsam as the children’s services commissioner, who is now tasked with drastically improving the region’s services.

The Ofsted report, published 13 November, found that children were “not consistently or effectively assessed, supported or protected,” with major concerns over workforce capacity, oversight and case progression.

Inspectors noted that the financial uncertainty plaguing the council had led to shortfalls in social work capacity across the children’s services, creating unmanageable caseloads and unassessed work.

Following the inspection, James Brokenshire announced in a written statement that an additional commissioner would be appointed as swift action was needed to “strengthen the focus on children in the current intervention” by adding another person.

In May, the government appointed both a lead and finance commissioner to help balance the books at the struggling local authority, and yesterday they published their first progress report on work to rebuild the council.

Facing a budget deficit of £70m, Northamptonshire became the first council in 20 years to issue a section 114 spending ban in February, followed by a second section 114 notice in July.

Newsam’s role is to provide immediate support to stabilise and improve Northamptonshire’s children’s services, and to work with the other commissioners to decide how best to deliver them.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said Newsam was a “very strong record” due to his track record in the field and his experience with local authorities.

Despite the announcement yesterday that £70m of capital receipts would be made available, commissioners are due to be in place until March 2019, providing the communities secretary with regular updates, with the current deficit alleged to be around £35m for the year.

Along with seven other Northamptonshire councils, the county council will make way for two new unitary authorities, with a consultation currently underway with the councils and local public organisations and residents.

Image credit - Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Newham council to set up commission into ‘astonishing failures’ amid £9m fraud allegations

15/01/2019Newham council to set up commission into ‘astonishing failures’ amid £9m fraud allegations

Newham LBC is establishing a wide-ranging commission to review its financial management in the wake of “astonishing failures of system cont... more >
Norfolk council proposes closing 38 children centres in updated proposal following backlash

15/01/2019Norfolk council proposes closing 38 children centres in updated proposal following backlash

Around 70% of children’s centres in Norfolk are set to close despite major opposition to the closures, with Norfolk County Council now prop... more >
Greater oversight of local governance needed as NAO slams government’s lack of transparency

15/01/2019Greater oversight of local governance needed as NAO slams government’s lack of transparency

Oversight of local governance systems must be improved by the government to help councils cope with increasing financial and demand pressures, ac... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
View all News

the raven's daily blog

Bus franchising is the biggest power new mayors have - they should use it

15/01/2019Bus franchising is the biggest power new mayors have - they should use it

It will face opposition at first, but transitioning to a system of bus franchising is the best and only option to truly modernise transport systems across our city regions, argues Luke Raikes, senior research fellow at IPPR North. England’s new metro mayors are slowly reshaping English politics. Next year, the mayors elected in 2017... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Government accountability: A year in crises

15/01/2019Government accountability: A year in crises

From Windrush to Univerisal Credit: the Institute for Government’s (IfG’s) accountability lead Benoit Guerin discusses how we can ave... more >
Rethinking public-private partnerships

15/01/2019Rethinking public-private partnerships

Trinley Walker, senior policy researcher at the New Local Government Network (NLGN) considers some different ways of approaching the relationship... more >
Fracking: divest to invest

07/01/2019Fracking: divest to invest

Deirdre Duff, divestment campaigner at Friends of the Earth, takes a look at local authorities’ role in fracking. The fossil fuel indu... more >
Building credit with the public sector

07/01/2019Building credit with the public sector

Mark Morrin, localism lead and principal research consultant at ResPublica, makes the case for salary-deducted lending to sit alongside a broader... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News