Tory councillors welcome 'outstanding' grade for Sunderland children's services

Sunderland Tory leaders have welcomed news that the city children’s services have been given a clean bill of health.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 3:41 pm

An Ofsted report released on Friday, August 20, rates the the city as ‘outstanding’, just three years after it was graded ‘inadequate’.

Council Conservative leader Coun Antony Mullen is an educational researcher and a member of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board.

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Sunderland Tory leader Coun Antony Mullen

“I warmly welcome the news that children’s services social care provision in Sunderland has been rated Outstanding by Ofsted,” he said.

“The Ofsted report makes explicit that this achievement is down to Jill Colbert, the Director of Together for Children, and her staff, ably supported by the Council’s Chief Executive.

“In previous years, Ofsted has said that children in Sunderland were not properly safeguarded and that they were put at risk of harm and radicalisation. Children died whilst in the Council’s care and to forget that would be an insult to those the local authority failed.”

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Agency Together for Children was set up after a damning report into children’s services in 2015: “It has taken the intervention of government and the removal of responsibility from the council’s direct control to get us to where we are now, but all across the political spectrum should welcome this news and hope for the continued success of Jill and her team,” said Coun Mullen.

"The welfare of hundreds of children depends on it.”

Coun Joshua McKeith, Shadow Cabinet Member for Children, Learning and Skills and Vice Chair of the Council’s Children’s Scrutiny Committee, added: "This is a fantastic result which is a testament to the good leadership of Together for Children.

“Safeguarding the city's young people is a priority of all of us, so we are delighted to see the result. It should have never reached the low point it did 2015, but the subsequent intervention to remove the service from the Council and instruction to create Together for Children has at last delivered an 'Outstanding' children’s service.

“The report states officers are 'confident, ambitious and influential' in changing the lives of young people in Sunderland, which emphasises the successful culture change within the service since 2015.”

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