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Failing children’s services will be taken over

High-performing authorities, experts and charities to be brought in

The Prime Minister has announced that poorly performing children's services must improve or be taken over by high-performing authorities, experts and charities.

New plans are intended to mirror the approach taken with failing schools. Over £100m will be invested in attracting more high-calibre graduates into social work.

Children's services in local authorities, which have persistently failed in the past, will be taken over immediately.

'Sharper triggers' will be put in place so that an emergency Ofsted inspection can be ordered where there are concerns about an authority's performance. This could include complaints from whistle-blowers or evidence of poor leadership. High-performing local authorities, experts in child protection and charities will be brought in to turn children's services around – including by acting as sponsors, forming 'trusts' to take over authorities which are judged to be failing.

If a local authority's children's services fails to improve within 6 months of their Ofsted inspection, a new service leader (Commissioner) will be put in place and high-performing local authorities, experts in child protection and charities will be brought in.

David Cameron said:

"Children's services support the most vulnerable children in our society. They are in our care; we, the state, are their parents; and we are failing them. It is our duty to put this right; to say poorly performing local authorities: improve, or be taken over. We will not stand by while children are let down by inadequate social services.

"This will be one of the big landmark reforms of this Parliament, as transformative as what we did in education in the last. And it shows how serious we are about confronting state failure and tackling some the biggest social problems in our country. Together we will make sure that not a single child is left behind."

As part of these major reforms, the Prime Minister has announced that Sunderland children's services will become a voluntary trust established by Nick Whitfield. The trust will take immediate action to improve Sunderland's performance. New service leaders will also be appointed to step in and tackle failings in Norfolk and Sandwell children's services.

Further measures announced will include: