Established on 1 April 2017, Together for Children delivers children’s services on behalf of Sunderland City Council.
Together for Children was set up in response to a 2015 Ofsted inspection of children’s services in Sunderland, which identified several serious failings.
As a result, children’s services were placed under “Direction” by the Department for Education (DfE) and an alternative service model was agreed between Sunderland City Council and the DfE. Following this, Together for Children was formed.
To ensure operational independence, Together for Children is controlled by an independent board.
Where are we now?
Children’s services in Sunderland remain under “Direction” by the DfE and the progress of Together for Children and our partners continues to be externally monitored and evaluated against the recommendations made by Ofsted.
Since 2015, we have improved our productivity levels, the timeliness of our responses, strengthened our performance management arrangements and improved the quality of our practice. We know we’re improving, through self-assessment and external scrutiny. Our most recent full Ofsted inspection in summer 2018 saw improvements across the board, with three out of five areas moving out of the previous 'inadequate' rating.
Our Fostering and Adoption services are now rated ‘good’, with both services for children who are cared for and those for care experienced young people, moving up to 'requires improvement'.
The focus now is to build on this steady progress and continue to improve on these key areas, outlined in our business plan.