Hampshire to take control of Isle of Wight children's services

By Tristan Donovan

| 26 March 2013

Hampshire County Council is set to take over children's services on the Isle of Wight after its lead member for children backed the proposals.

Hampshire director of children's services John Coughlan will add the Isle of Wight to his responsibilities under the plan

Conservative councillor Roy Perry, Hampshire’s executive member for children’s services, last night approved outline proposals that will see the county assume operational control of the island’s troubled children’s services.

The move follows a damning Ofsted inspection in January that rated the island’s child protection work as “inadequate” across the board and led to the resignation of Ali Matthews, its deputy director for children’s safeguarding and social care.

Under the plans, Hampshire would run children’s services on the island while Isle of Wight Council will continue to foot the bill and retain political responsibility.

The move will also see John Coughlan, director of children’s services at Hampshire, take on the role of director of children’s services for the Isle of Wight.

Perry said the partnership would be “an opportunity for us to offer assistance to our neighbor and an opportunity for us to develop an area of work as an extension of our capacity”.

However, he said that Hampshire would not use any of its budget to support children’s services on the Isle of Wight.

Councillor David Pugh, the leader of Isle of Wight Council, said: “It is imperative that these arrangements to improve our child protection services are put in place swiftly and also that they are effective.”

The two authorities will now thrash out the fine detail of the partnership, which will not begin until June at the earliest.

Hampshire County Council was rated good in its last safeguarding inspection, which took place in 2011.

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