Children’s services London partnership to end

child protection

Conservative councillors in two London boroughs plan to eject a Labour-run authority from a pioneering children’s services partnership.

The three boroughs –Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Westminster – have jointly delivered child protection services since 2011. This arrangement has been well received by the inspectorate Ofsted, who rated two of the three “outstanding” last year, while the government has also expressed praise.

Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster are both controlled by the Conservative Party, Children & Young People Now reports, while Hammersith & Fulham is a Labour-run authority.  The former two have now announced plans to remove the latter from the partnership on 1 April next year, saying they plan to go forward with a “bi-borough” arrangement.

In an official statement, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea insisted that

“The move follows the gradual emergence of a Hammersmith & Fulham plan to set up an in-house ‘people’s’ department that, once established, would take over and deliver these key services to Hammersmith & Fulham residents alone.”

Council leader Nick Paget-Brown said the split would be undertaken reluctantly but jointly employed staff had become increasingly “anxious” about their futures and believed vital services were under threat thanks to the Hammersmith plans.

Westminsiter Council made similar claims.

Meanwhile, Hammersmith & Fulham Council leader Stephen Cowan said his authoirty had grown increasingly critical of the partnership, believing it was marred by conflicts of interest and was insufficiently transparent in in its operations. Inefficiences had cost his own council millions he claimed.

“Triggering withdrawal is evidently a long-planned move by the two councils. I look forward to having sensible discussions with them about how we can all move on in the best way for our residents.”

Photo by munksynz via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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