Sandwell council is set to lose control of its children’s services under recommendations its government-appointed commissioner has sent to ministers.
Eleanor Brazil, who was appointed as Sandwell’s commissioner in December last year, has told the Department for Education the ‘inadequate’-rated services should be moved into a voluntary trust or brought under the control of an executive commissioner.
Edward Timpson, the children’s minister, will now decide which option to pursue.
Brazil was appointed to look at how Sandwell’s children’s services could improve given they’d been rated ‘inadequate’ in the last three Ofsted inspections. She concluded that the services should be taken out of local authority control after finding previous attempts to improve services through extra investment had not been good enough.
She said: “Given the challenges ahead and the need for further improvement, I believe a fresh start is required to create impetus and deliver the robust and sustainable changes required.”
Prior to being appointed in Sandwell, Brazil oversaw the transition of Slough and Doncaster children’s services into trusts.
In February, social workers in Sandwell voted unanimously for a motion calling for a ballot on industrial action if the government decided to move to an independent trust model.
Simon Hackett, Sandwell’s cabinet member for children’s services, said there is a “clear commitment” from the council to improve children’s social care.
“We’re working with the Department for Education to make sure we find the right solutions to issues raised by the commissioner. This will put us in the best position for long term sustainable improvements to help support children in our borough.”