Bevan Brittan LLP has supported the development and launch of a new children’s services company, Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT).
In June 2019, following a report from the Commissioner for Children’s Services in Northamptonshire, the Department for Education issued a revised direction that Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) should move the operational control and delivery of children’s social care services to a wholly-owned council company, with provision to transfer commissioning arrangements to the two new unitary councils at the point they become operational (April 2021).
Northamptonshire Children’s Trust was established on 1 November 2020 as an operationally independent, not-for-profit company to deliver children’s social care services on behalf of the Council. It is also responsible for the delivery of other services including early help, foster care and family support to vulnerable children.
Bevan Brittan advised on the contractual documentation, corporate governance arrangements - and putting in place commissioning, delivery and support arrangements between NCC and NCT. The firm also provided support on issues including information governance, data protection, intellectual property, pensions and protection of employment (TUPE) - including compliance with Teckal principles under Regulation 12 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
The project was completed on time, with the transfer of more than 900 staff, a portfolio of around 30 properties and a significant financial envelope.
Bevan Brittan partner Kirtpal Kaur-Aujla said:
“We are delighted to have worked closely with Northamptonshire County Council in helping to establish an independent company to deliver children’s services. There is now a clear structure and leadership in place to deliver the requirements of the Secretary of State's latest direction. This will allow the Trust to focus on delivering a wide range of children’s services – aimed at ensuring a positive impact on those children most in need of protection and care. We will continue to support the council in the next phase of the implementation of the project.”
Alternative delivery models for the provision of children’s services have been set up by 11 local authorities. In this regard, Bevan Brittan has advised authorities in Birmingham, Doncaster, Sandwell, Worcestershire as well as Kingston and Richmond Councils on Achieving for Children.