It was in 2013 that Hampshire County Council and Isle of Wight Council entered into a strategic partnership for Children’s Services after Ofsted found Isle of Wight Children’s Services to be inadequate. The move was initiated and supported by the Department for Education but has since moved on to a mutual footing because the partnership has been so strong.
In practice this meant that the County Council’s Director of Children’s Services and Departmental Management Team took on full operational responsibility for Isle of Wight Children’s Services, as per the terms of the Children Act 2004, and as part of an improvement programme under the auspices of Government. The Isle of Wight Council retained political authority, accountability and financial responsibility.
Cllr Perry added: “I am acutely aware that it has been a challenging journey of improvement and I know that everyone involved has been fully committed and driven, working tirelessly to raise the bar and deliver a high standard of service for the Island’s most vulnerable children. Particular credit for leading the journey should go to our Assistant Director, Stuart Ashley, who has overseen the day to day improvement of services for the last three years. I also want to congratulate the political leadership on the Island for their approach and commitment to their children.”
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Keith Mans, added: “I know, from our own experiences, that a good judgement is a hard one to achieve. Establishing the strategic partnership has also been good for Hampshire, in that it gave us an opportunity to assist our neighbour, as well as develop our capacity and expertise. From the outset, our Leadership team was clear that getting from inadequate to good would take time and to do so within six years is a real accomplishment.
Cllr Mans added: “I have no doubt that this could not have been achieved without the dedication of every member of Children’s Services staff, both in Hampshire and on the Island and they should be proud of their success.”