Council to continue driving forward the transformation of its children’s services
Wakefield Council is
to continue leading and driving forward the transformation of its children and
young people’s services.
The Government confirmed the services will remain under the Council’s full
control after an Independent Commissioner found that ‘any Alternative Delivery
Model (ADM) could disrupt the now rapidly developing improvement programme’.
The Under-Secretary of State, Nadhim Zahawi MP, agreed with the findings of the
report from the Commissioner, Peter Dwyer CBE, who recommended that there was
‘strong enough evidence that long-term sustainable improvement can be achieved
if operational control remains with the Council’.
In his report, the Commissioner commented that Wakefield Council ‘has responded
robustly and at considerable pace to the challenges posed by the 2018 Ofsted
inspection’, acknowledging that Wakefield now has a ‘significant degree of
stability of political leadership and a wider council senior management team
more closely engaged with understanding and supporting required improvement.’
He highlighted that improvement work has been accelerated by the new Director
for Children’s Services and Chief Executive, alongside new appointments to key
political leadership roles. The Commissioner found that significant additional
financial resources, which were immediately prioritised, are now in the
medium-term financial strategy and that additional resources have been well
used to increase frontline social work capacity, and as a result caseloads are
reducing and management oversight is improving.
The Statutory Direction published by the Under-Secretary of State advises that
Peter Dwyer CBE will carry out an interim review in May 2019 and a final review
in November 2019, reporting back to the Minister.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council
The Leader of
Wakefield Council, Cllr Peter Box CBE, said: “I welcome the decision by the
Under-Secretary of State to keep children’s services under the full control of
Wakefield Council. This supports the robust and effective changes I have
ensured are being delivered.
“My efforts have been focussed on getting the right people in place and making
the required financial resources available. In addition, I have made sure there
is more robust challenge and oversight across the Council.
“The improvement we have achieved so far does not mean we are complacent. We
fully understand that the scale of the transformation is considerable and the
ongoing support of the Commissioner is very welcome and appreciated.
“We now need to maintain a steely focus as we continue to ensure that the changes
we are delivering make a positive difference to staff and make a difference to
lives of our children and their families.
Wakefield Council’s Chief Executive, said: “We now have the opportunity to
demonstrate our ability to sustain the significant changes we have made and,
most importantly, evidence the impact this is having on children and their
“The Commissioner’s report expresses confidence that, with the new leadership
put in place by Cllr Box and I, we can deliver the necessary improvements and
that we have the capacity and capability to improve these services. The whole
council is involved in supporting the transformation of our children’s
“Elected members from both parties are challenging progress and improvement to
ensure the Council has robust assurance that action is being taken and
“The work we are doing with our partners continues to be strengthened and
remains pivotal to our transformation.”
The Independent Commissioner came to Wakefield Council in September 2018, after
a standard Ofsted inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services took place
over two weeks in June. Ofsted judged the services to be inadequate across the
board. Following this, an Independent Commissioner was appointed to review the
services and make recommendations to the Government minister.
The Commissioner's revised direction, and full report, is available on the
Department for Education website at www.gov.uk/government/publications/revised-direction-issued-to-wakefield-council