Commissioner no longer required to oversee Wakefield’s Children’s Services

09/01/2020, PR-9262

The Government has recognised the continued and sustainable progress being made into Wakefield’s Children’s services by agreeing that there is no further need for a Commissioner to oversee the transformation journey.

The Commissioner has endorsed Council's progress
The Commissioner has endorsed Council's progress

Wakefield Council is continuing to make improvements to its services for children and young people and, based on the Commissioner’s recommendation, the Government has now approved that no further review visits will be required. 

The latest report from the Commissioner in which the recommendation is made, also highlights “considerable confidence” in the Council’s ability to receive more positive inspection outcomes in the future. 

Cllr Margaret Isherwood
Cllr Margaret Isherwood

The report also praises the Council’s leadership in driving forward the improvements which is “relentlessly ambitious for the organisation” and welcomes the priority and attention focused on the delivery of sustainable improvements.

It highlights that “important progress has been made in enhancing the tools, skills and resources consistently available within and to the workforce to address the challenges families are experiencing. Consequently, they are better placed to move beyond better compliance to actually affecting change in the lives of children and young people.” 

Wakefield Council’s Corporate Director for Children and Young People, Beate Wagner, said: “The Government’s decision is testament to the confidence in our improvement to date and the plans in place for continued and sustainable transformation to our services. 

 “Inspectors have seen recruitment into roles, strong governance being established and significant financial investment at the frontline. But there is still more work to be done and we are continuing in our systematic and staged approach to ensure that services continue to improve.” 

 Cllr Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “This decision by the Government demonstrates their recognition of the vast improvements already made and the strong plans in place for further improvement. 

 “The Commissioner’s invaluable support and feedback has been key to our transformation journey, helping to reinforce where we need to focus. The recognition that the oversight by a Commissioner is no longer required, gives further confidence that we are on track and moving at a sustainable pace. 

“Children and young people will continue to be at the heart of everything we do as we continue to progress and plan for the future.” 

The Council has been working closely with the Independent Commissioner, Peter Dywer CBE, who was appointed by the Department for Education in June 2018 following an Ofsted inspection which judged services to be inadequate. 

Mr Dwyer has been carrying out regular reviews of the Council’s journey to transform services for its children and young people. The Government have officially approved that no further direct engagement of an appointment Commissioner is needed. 

The Department for Education will continue to monitor and support the Council and regular Ofsted monitoring visits will continue.