Children's services trust set to cost £4.6m

Joe Lepper
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The creation of an independent trust as part of efforts to improve children's services in Worcestershire will cost around £4.6m, it has emerged.

Worcestershire County Council cabinet members have voted unanimously to develop a wholly owned council company to deliver children's services, which were rated as "inadequate" by Ofsted in January 2017.

In September last year the Department for Education told the council it had to find a new way of delivering children's services after a review questioned its ability to turn around the service.

In documents presented to cabinet members the council estimates that it will cost around £4.6m to establish and set up the new company, but this figure could rise further depending on location and IT costs. Property-related costs have been set at £1.33m but could rise to as much as £2m.

The £4.6m cost also includes £1.74m for project management. The cost of appointing a chief executive, board and client management team prior to the service goes live is put at £744,000.

Finance and communication resources are set to cost £299,000, human resources £148,000 and £30,000 has been set aside for branding and communications.

"It is estimated that an investment of approximately £4.6m will be required to establish and set up the company model," states the council report presented to cabinet. 

"This is likely to change during implementation as key decisions are taken, in particular on where the company will be located and a more detailed understanding of additional ICT infrastructure costs."

The total cost of the service, including running costs is set to be £77m in 2019/20, rising to £82m in 2022/23. This includes an additional cost of £2.5m which is "attributed directly to the running and commissioning of the company", the cabinet report adds.

The council anticipates that the service will have a deficit of £7.5m by 2019/20, rising to £11.1m by 2022/23 but hopes to mitigate this through funding from the DfE, which has the final say on setting up the company.

Based on assumed funding from the DfE the council expects the deficit to be £6.2m from 2019/20 and £9.7m by 2022/23.

The company is set to go live next April, pending DfE approval.

Last month Doncaster Children's Services Trust, the first independent trust to be established, was told by Doncaster Council to make savings of £4.5m.

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