It was confirmed at last night’s Full Council that Plymouth City Council will take on the full managerial responsibility for Children’s Services in Torbay.
Full Council has endorsed the Cabinet’s decision to enter into a formal contractual arrangement for Plymouth to manage Torbay Council’s Children’s Services, it is due to come into effect from 1 April. Political responsibility will remain with Torbay Council.
Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “This is an exciting example of sector led improvement with two authorities working together to deliver improved outcomes for our children and young people. I’m extremely proud that Plymouth will now be supporting our colleagues in Torbay. I know that we are in strong position to provide management leadership on the next stage of Torbay’s improvement in Children’s services, as we have faced similar challenges ourselves in the past.”
Councillor Julien Parrott, Executive Lead for Adults and Children from Torbay added: “Huge progress has been made to get to this stage. It is important to reassure our residents and staff that staffing structures across Children’s Services in both councils will be largely unaffected. Staff employed in Plymouth will continue to work with the city’s children, young people and families and those employed by Torbay will work with Torbay children, young people and families.”
A Director of Children’s Services will be provided by Plymouth City Council, to report to both Councils’ Chief Executives and Councils. This is a legal requirement and ensures that each Council has clear responsibility for its children. This role will be separate and distinct from Plymouth’s Strategic Director of People to ensure that there is the capacity to deliver the work.
The opportunity to create this new contractual arrangement arose following the Department for Education’s (DfE) appointed Commissioner John Coughlan’s recommendation that Plymouth be the preferred partner to help lead improvement in Torbay’s Children’s Services.
It was agreed ‘in principle’ to this arrangement in September last year, subject to certain conditions including that there should be no cost to Plymouth taxpayers and it’s been confirmed that the DfE has provided a grant of just over £1.4 million to cover all the costs.
The Commissioner has been closely involved in the discussions and will continue to be involved throughout the initial transition phase.