New era for children's services
Published on 7th November 2012
Sandwell Council has launched a new era for children’s services by appointing an award-winning firm to help it drive forward change.
The firm and its HR partner Penna will work alongside service users, frontline staff and senior managers to build on recent achievements in Sandwell, including an improved Ofsted rating for children's safeguarding in February this year.
It is believed to be the first time an external partner is set to become an integral part of a children's services department in this way.
The contract includes an interim Director of Children's Services - he is Simon White, currently Director of Children's Services at Suffolk County Council.
He has a long track record as a senior professional in turning round children's services and delivering sustained improvement.
Sandwell Council's cabinet member for children and families Councillor Bob Badham said: "iMPOWER was an outstanding candidate - their approach is supportive and co-operative, delivering innovative improvements which will last.
"This contract is unique as far as we know - bringing in a partner to work as part of the department rather than viewing it from the outside."
Sandwell's current DCS, the council's chief executive Jan Britton, said: "We were impressed by iMPOWER's track record of partnership working and their plans to develop new approaches at a challenging time for the public sector."
The contract is due to start before the end of the year, largely paid for by savings in top management posts at the council.
Max Wide, Director of Impower said: "Sandwell has made great strides in improving children's services and our approach will be to build on what it has achieved, working alongside Simon and Sandwell's staff to deliver a set of transformational projects that will put it ahead of the curve."
Sandwell Council's cabinet today (Weds, Nov 7) approved awarding preferred bidder status to iMPOWER.
The deal is set to finally agreed once legal formalities have been completed, which should take around two weeks.