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Troubled councils collaborate on children’s services

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A council whose children’s services were criticised by the education secretary last month has turned to another crisis-hit authority for help.

Doncaster MBC, whose children’s services were rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, has held talks with neighbouring Rotherham MBC.

Michael Gove described Doncaster’s situation as “unacceptable” and in need of “radical improvement”.

Rotherham also found itself under fire from the education secretary after its social workers removed children from foster parents because they were members of the UK Independence Party. Mr Gove described the decision as “indefensible”.

However, senior staff at the authorities have discussed working together to turn around Doncaster’s troubled services, according to Doncaster’s cabinet member for children’s services, Eric Tatton-Kelly (Lib Dem).  

“The authorities have met to discuss avenues that could improve our situation, and ways they [Rotherham] could help,” Cllr Tatton-Kelly said.

“The details of that aren’t clear yet, and we have no preconceived ideas about what the help could be.”

Cllr Tatton-Kelly said he thought Rotherham MBC’s decision to remove the children in the UKIP controversy was “outrageous” but that this did not mean its overall children’s services were poor.

Mr Gove met local MPs, including Labour leader Ed Miliband, last week to discuss government intervention in Doncaster’s services.

Peter Kemp, chair of the board set up in 2010 to spearhead an earlier government intervention in Doncaster’s children’s services, is to quit the role this month.

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