Northamptonshire Children’s Trust is now operational – a major step forward on the Children’s Services improvement programme in the county.
The Trust aspires to deliver outstanding early help and social care services for children and families in the county; ensuring they receive the help they need to prevent difficulties escalating and creating the conditions for social work excellence to flourish.
The main focus is on ensuring a positive impact on those children most in need of protection and care.
Cllr Fiona Baker, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for Children, Families and Education, said:
“The launch of the Trust is at the core of our improvement programme.
“We are clear that all children in Northamptonshire, no matter what their background, deserve to be safe and have the best chances in life to achieve their full potential. The Trust will play the fundamental role in ensuring this happens.
“Being an operationally-independent Children’s Trust brings an exciting opportunity to take children’s early help and social care services on a journey into a new organisation that puts children and young people at the heart of all we do.”
Clare Chamberlain, chair of the Trust, said: “I am delighted that thanks to the commitment and collaborative work of Trust and Council colleagues, we can begin to work as Northamptonshire Children’s Trust on 1 November.
“As an organisation focussed solely on children’s social care, we are dedicated to continue improvements in our services to enhance the lives and life chances of vulnerable children, young people and their families.
“To do this we will be working in close partnership with the Council and other partner agencies who work with children, young people and their families and also with the new Councils who will come into existence on 1 April next year.”
Andrew Christie, Children’s Commissioner in Northamptonshire, said: “I am delighted that we have now launched a Children’s Trust in Northamptonshire. A considerable amount of work has been carried out by the Council and Trust over the last few months to achieve this significant landmark.
“This is a momentous day for the children and families of Northamptonshire. One that will see a reinvigorated future for children’s services across the county, providing timely and appropriate support to those who need it most.
“I will continue in my role as Children’s Commissioner to support the Trust in its early life to ensure that it is embedded and ready to take on this important improvement journey, working with the County Council and subsequently the two new unitary authorities come April next year.”
Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said: “Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable children in Northamptonshire, and our focus remains on driving the rapid improvements these children and their families deserve. The launch of the Children’s Trust is the next step in that improvement programme.
“We will not hesitate to intervene when services are not good enough, and will continue supporting the new Trust, the county council and subsequently the two new authorities as they take on their responsibilities, working together to do better for children in Northamptonshire.”
Will the Trust have strong links with the county council?
While a new website for the Trust will go live today, important safeguarding information will still be able to be accessed through the Northamptonshire County Council website.
The Trust has a Board, Directors and Chief Executive who will continue to work with the Director of Children’s Services (DCS), Cathi Hadley. The director’s role remains within the county council and will continue to have the statutory responsibility for children’s services.
In 2019, Northamptonshire County Council’s children’s early help and social care services were placed under a 'direction' by the Department for Education (DfE). The direction asked the Council to work towards the establishment of a Children’s Trust which would be wholly-owned by the Council and then by the two unitary councils from April 2021.