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County ordered to create children's social care company

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Northamptonshire CC has been ordered to establish a wholly-owned company to deliver its children’s social care services, under a revised government direction.

Last month it was announced education secretary Damian Hinds “is minded” to establish a single children’s trust to deliver children’s social care for the two new unitary councils which will replace the two-tier system in the county and become operational in April 2021.

The decision followed a recommendation from Northamptonshire’s children’s commissioner Malcolm Newsam, who said current weaknesses in Northamptonshire’s children’s social care and “the absence of detailed planning in respect of disaggregation” of these services meant there would be considerable risk in establishing separate provision by the two councils.

Under the revised direction issued yesterday, Mr Newsam will remain in Northamptonshire and oversee the establishment of the company and the transfer operational control of services by July next year. Commissioning arrangements for children’s social care will then later be transferred to the new councils.

Mr Hinds issued a direction to the council appointing Mr Newsam after Ofsted found services had deteriorated significantly since the council received a ‘requires improvement’ rating in 2016.

Two serious case review published earlier this month found children’s social care staff in Northamptonshire misjudged the level of threat to two toddlers and did not act on warnings about their welfare before they were murdered by men looking after them in 2017 and 2018.

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