Leeds City Council Children’s services have been asked to enter into a formal ‘Improvement Partnership’ with Kirklees Council.
On the recommendation of Eleanor Brazil, the Children’s Commissioner for Kirklees, Leeds City Council has been approached by the Department for Education to pilot a new model of support with Kirklees. Kirklees children’s services is currently in intervention following an Ofsted inspection that found services for children to be ‘inadequate’.
Leeds Director of Children and Families will for a fixed period also become the Director of Children’s Services in Kirklees in a joint role. However Kirklees will remain responsible for the delivery of services, budgets and outcomes for children and young people, with Leeds delivering a structured programme of support to drive improvement.
This model is different from previous interventions, such as that between the Isle of Wight and Hampshire, which saw Hampshire take over full responsibility for services. Leeds will be funded to undertake this work which will mean that there will be no loss of capacity in Leeds and that children and families in Leeds will continue to receive the level support they need.
Cllr Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Children and Families said:
“We are happy to be able to support our colleagues in Kirklees. Leeds Children's Services have been on an improvement journey and we are pleased to be able to share what we have learned with Kirklees to help improve outcomes for children there.
“This request builds on previous improvement work that Leeds has undertaken with other councils, including Sunderland and Manchester, and reflects our status as a Department for Education recognised ‘Partner in Practice’.
We are continuing to discuss arrangements with the DfE but are already putting support in place whilst we work together with Kirklees to develop a full strategy for how this partnership will work in practice.”