THE NEW company to take charge of the county’s troubled children’s social care services will be launched in October next year, county council chiefs have revealed.
Worcestershire Children First was unveiled following a meeting between county council leader Coun Simon Geraghty and Chief Executive Paul Robinson with Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, and Worcestershire Children’s Commissioner Trevor Doughty.
The additional time will allow Worcestershire County Council to put in place a new IT system that will underpin the delivery of children’s social care. It will also mean the Company Board will operate for six months in shadow form allowing for a smoother transition and better services before the formal launch in October 2019.
Coun Andy Roberts, cabinet member for Children and Families said: “We were originally under statutory direction to transfer the operational control from the Council to the company by April 2019.
“Whilst we have provided additional capacity and capability to implement the new company within the original timescales set by the Secretary of State we are pleased that he has recognised the risks to implementing the company in only 12 months.
“We are committed and determined to improve the lives of children and young people in Worcestershire and will continue to work at pace to implement the new company and make services better, more secure and effective in the future.”
In addition to confirmation of the change in date it was also confirmed that the Department for Education would contribute a grant of £3.15million to the setup of the company; and contribute towards the costs of non-executive directors for the first two years of the company’s operation.
Following discussions between the Department for Education and HMRC it is expected the company will be allowed to charge VAT on services it provides to the local authority. This will significantly help reduce pressure on local budgets in the future.