Government 'minded' to send another highly-paid commissioner into Northamptonshire County Council

Another commissioner is set to be sent into One Angel Square after the damning Ofsted update today.
Another commissioner is set to be sent into One Angel Square after the damning Ofsted update today.

Another government commissioner is likely to be drafted in to run childrens services at Northamptonshire County Council following the damning Ofsted report.

The watchdog report, published today (November 13), said the authority's children's services had significantly declined since the last inspection in 2016.

It singled out several worrying aspects, including huge workloads swamping the department's staff and social workers.

Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, communities secretary James Brokenshire MP said that, following discussions with the Department for Education, the Government was 'minded' to send in another commissioner to steady the ship at One Angel Square.

He said: "This will help to stabilise and improve the service so each and every child receives the protection they deserve. The commissioner would also help the authority decide how best to deliver children’s services after the potential local government reorganisation in Northamptonshire. The Secretary of State for Education and I will receive regular progress reports from our Commissioner team.

Education secretary Damian Hinds sees Malcolm Newsam CBE as a "very strong candidate" for the role of children’s services commissioner, added Mr Brokenshire.

The communities secretary continued: "Mr Newsam is an experienced director of children’s services.

"He has worked in a number of local authorities, including as children services commissioner in Sandwell, and previously as an executive commissioner for children’s services in Rotherham, working closely with other government commissioners as part of a wider government intervention."

Cabinet member for children at the county council, Councillor Victoria Perry, said: “I welcome this news. We already know how beneficial our current Commissioners have been in the areas they focus on, so the addition of an individual such as Malcolm Newsam CBE with all the experience he brings can only be good news for this county."

“Together with our new team under the experienced leadership of Theresa Grant and our Commissioners Tony McArdle and Brain Roberts we really have the very best minds in local government operating now here in Northamptonshire.

“What we must never lose sight of is that if this report means that already children in this county are safer then we must all welcome it and its findings. It is now our duty to fix what has clearly gone wrong.”