Council ordered to hand more services to independent trust

Doncaster council has been told to speed up its own plans to transfer disabled children's services to an independent trust by the government

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Doncaster council has been ordered to hand its services for disabled children to an independent trust.

A direction issued by the Department for Education (DfE) said that the services – which were not taken on by Doncaster Children’s Trust when it launched in 2014 – should be run by the trust with immediate effect.

The council had planned to transfer responsibility for disabled children to the trust by September this year, but ministers have demanded the move be brought forward due to concerns over performance.

‘Insufficient’ integration

The DfE said the decision followed an Ofsted report from November 2015 which found there was “insufficient” integration between the disabled children’s services and children’s social care.

The improvement notice said: “Children’s social care functions in respect of disabled children are still not being performed to an adequate standard…in order to secure that they are performed to an adequate standard…the Secretaries of State consider that it is necessary that they be performed by the trust from the date of this direction.”

Up until now the trust ran children’s services in Doncaster except for the disabled children, virtual school for children in care and early help services.

Ofsted’s report in Doncaster rated the council’s services ‘inadequate’ but found improvements had been made since the trust took on certain functions.

Inspectors found the quality of social work for disabled children had improved, as had co-working arrangements between the council and trust.

“The current agency manager for the children with a disability service is having a positive impact on reducing the isolation of this service from mainstream safeguarding services as the role currently sits outside the trust within the council,” Ofsted’s report said.

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One Response to Council ordered to hand more services to independent trust

  1. londonboy June 20, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

    Interesting case.

    As the parent of a autistic young man without an intellectual disability who became a looked after child, I’m cautiously relieved that someone is speaking out for children like him ( at least I hope they are?) .Social Care transitions teams expect children with disabilities to have a sign on their heads with the word ‘disabled’ on it. Someone like my son is a complete puzzle and there are no services and no care paths. Everyone recognise’s my sons vulnerability and he is being accommodated at great expense. It has taken social care a long time to engage with the nature of his disability and how it affects him.

    I really hope this case focuses commissioners everywhere on the needs of disabled children including those with hidden disabilities particularly when the state acts as corporate parent. They need better health checks, better clinical care ( irrespective of placement location), better care paths and a better educated workforce.