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Bevan Brittan has advised Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council on the development of a new operationally independent children’s trust.
Sandwell Children’s Trust is a company that has been established by the Council for the purposes of delivering children’s social care services in the borough. This follows a direction from the Secretary of State for Education in October 2016 after the regulator OFSTED had judged local services as ‘inadequate’. Since then, the Council has been working closely with the Department for Education (‘DfE’) and the Commissioner appointed by the Secretary of State, Malcolm Newsam.
The creation of Sandwell Children’s Trust, a non-profit distributing company, effective from April 1 2018, provides a fresh start for Sandwell's children's social care services. The Trust aims to measurably improve the lives of children and their families in Sandwell with a focus on ensuring a positive impact on vulnerable children.
Judith Barnes said:
“We are very pleased to have supported Sandwell Council over the last 18 months in the challenging task of establishing a new Trust to oversee local children’s social care services. There is now a clear framework and leadership structure in place to deliver the requirements of the Secretary of State's latest Direction in March 2018 and to focus on the important role of helping children most in need of protection and care.”
Bevan Brittan advised Sandwell Council in setting up the company structure and putting in place commissioning and delivery arrangements between the Council and the Trust over the course of a 10-year contract. Sandwell Council retains statutory responsibility for children’s services in the borough.
For the purposes of public procurement rules, the Trust is a “Teckal” compliant company. Bevan Brittan also advised on the support services within the Council that will continue to assist the Trust and enable the Trust to discharge its main children’s social care functions.
Sandwell Council stated:
“Sandwell Children’s Trust gives all concerned a fresh start and the opportunity to make a real change to children's social care in Sandwell.
“We now have the right framework in place and we are very pleased with the dedicated professional support and advice received from Bevan Brittan LLP in respect of this matter.
“The Trust has a strong and experienced board and management team in place. With this great foundation, we hope the Trust will continue to deliver improvements to children's social care services in Sandwell.”