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Torbay to lose control of children's services

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Plymouth City Council is to take over delivery of Torbay Council’s children’s services, under the terms of a government direction published today.

Education secretary Justine Greening has re-appointed government commissioner and Hampshire CC chief executive John Coughlan to oversee the process of formalising the arrangement.

John Coughlan

John Coughlan

Poor performance in safeguarding children in Torbay was first identified in 2011 but the council was judged ‘adequate’ in 2013 under the previous inspection regime.

However, an Ofsted report published in January 2016 found Torbay to be inadequate, with senior leaders judged to have “lost focus” on ensuring good quality services, and Mr Coughlan was appointed to carry out a review of services.

Following “a thorough options appraisal of alternative delivery models” Mr Coughlan recommended in April that the council should hand control of children’s services delivery to Plymouth.

Today’s direction states that Mr Coughlan will provide “independent strategic oversight of Torbay Council’s progress towards a contract with Plymouth City Council, with support from Hampshire CC as expert advisers.”

Hampshire currently runs children’s services on behalf of Isle of White Council.

Torbay did not respond to a request for comment.

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