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Serco drives sustained Children's Services improvements at Stoke

Date: 13 Jan 2009

The Joint Area Review1 of Stoke-on-Trent Children's Services published today has found significant and rapid progress made.  Following a Central Government intervention in 2007 that had rated Children's Services as inadequate, Serco were appointed to deliver a transformation in services. 

The Joint Area Review further quotes:
In the autumn of 2006, the council actively cooperated with the Government to contract Serco Ltd to provide the senior management for children's services from April 2007 and from this point improvements have accelerated.

Specific concerns had been raised by Central Government in 2006 around safeguarding, which had previously been rated as 'inadequate', citing areas of weakness including Local Safeguarding Children Board arrangements, the insufficient numbers of timely assessments completed and an insufficiently robust approach towards serious case reviews.  However the JAR points to rapid and significant improvements in all of these areas and others, and there is a clear focus on further improvement.

The findings of this Joint Area Review reinforce the Annual Performance Assessment for the Council published in December 2008 that in particular awarded a  Good rating for the management of services for children and young people, and its capacity to improve services.

Cllr Roger Ibbs, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People's Services said, The report shows that there is strong management and a clear focus to ensuring these key services continue to improve, and we are pleased by the progress being made by the Serco-led team.

Ged Rowney, Serco Director for Children's Services at Stoke said, We are delighted with the positive comments we have received from this JAR, which recognises the progress we have made so far.  We still have some way to go to achieving our vision of a good and safe start in life for all children and young people in Stoke, but I am confident that we have the right management and front line team to make this happen.

Elaine Simpson, MD Education and Children's Services, Serco said, This is testament to what can be achieved by our dedicated professional teams, through strong leadership, partnership-working and above all a focus on delivering better outcomes for the children of Stoke.

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Last Updated: 13 Jan 2009