The government has appointed a commissioner to evaluate whether Reading’s inadequate-rated children’s services should be removed from council control.
Nick Whitfield, the chief executive of Achieving for Children, a community interest company that runs children’s services in Kingston and Richmond, will report to education secretary Justine Greening by 16 December on the best future for the troubled children’s services.
Reading’s services were rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted last month after inspectors identified “serious, persistent and systemic failures”.
A direction from the Department for Education said the council must cooperate with Whitfield, who will be able to “issue any necessary instructions to the local authority for the purpose of securing immediate improvement”.
He will “advise on relevant alternative delivery and governance arrangements for children’s social care, outside of the operational control of the local authority” and assess the council’s capacity to improve itself, the DfE said.
The government appointed Whitfield as a commissioner in Sunderland last year. It was later announced the services would transfer to a voluntary trust.