Mayor of Doncaster welcomes new trust

Minister for Education Michael Gove
Minister for Education Michael Gove
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The Mayor of Doncaster has welcomed an announcement that the Government is to work with Doncaster Council to create a trust to improve children’s social care in the borough.

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, has written to Doncaster Mayor Coun Ros Jones, setting out measures required of the council to work with the appointed Commissioner for Children’s Social Care.

The report, compiled by Professor Julian Le Grand, recommends removing all children’s services other than education from Doncaster Council and establishing a new, independent, not for profit trust to deliver them.

Due to come into operation in April, it will take on the current 700 staff involved in children’s services in a new headquarters away from the Civic Office.

Doncaster Council will still retain responsibility for schools and education, but all children’s social work and care operations will become the remit of the new trust, which will be in control for at least five years.

The council had maintained that no further external intervention was needed other than an external commissioner for children’s services.

The Government has now agreed the council will take part in developing the overall vision for children and agreeing the strategy for improvement with the commissioner, allocate sufficient resources to children’s services and, in conjunction with the commissioner, scrutinise the performance of the new body.

Coun Jones said she would have preferred the council to have retained the services, but welcomed the minister’s announcement.

“I am particularly pleased he has seen the benefits of our response and is giving serious consideration to what we believe is a compelling, accountable and well-thought out reframing of the original proposal,” she said.

She added the revised proposals were a real opportunity to create innovation in service delivery, tailored to Doncaster.