Doncaster council has been ordered to hand its services for disabled children to an independent trust.
A direction issued by the Department for Education (DfE) said that the services – which were not taken on by Doncaster Children’s Trust when it launched in 2014 – should be run by the trust with immediate effect.
The council had planned to transfer responsibility for disabled children to the trust by September this year, but ministers have demanded the move be brought forward due to concerns over performance.
The DfE said the decision followed an Ofsted report from November 2015 which found there was “insufficient” integration between the disabled children’s services and children’s social care.
The improvement notice said: “Children’s social care functions in respect of disabled children are still not being performed to an adequate standard…in order to secure that they are performed to an adequate standard…the Secretaries of State consider that it is necessary that they be performed by the trust from the date of this direction.”
Up until now the trust ran children’s services in Doncaster except for the disabled children, virtual school for children in care and early help services.
Ofsted’s report in Doncaster rated the council’s services ‘inadequate’ but found improvements had been made since the trust took on certain functions.
Inspectors found the quality of social work for disabled children had improved, as had co-working arrangements between the council and trust.
“The current agency manager for the children with a disability service is having a positive impact on reducing the isolation of this service from mainstream safeguarding services as the role currently sits outside the trust within the council,” Ofsted’s report said.
Source: Community Care