Kingston and Richmond children services to merge?
By adam_leone | Friday, November 23, 2012, 10:49
Kingston and Richmond Council's are said to be a step closer in providing a new wave of children services.
New plans include the idea to establish a local authority company jointly owned by the two boroughs under the leadership of Nick Whitfield, Director of Children's Services in Richmond.
Over the past 18 months the two authorities have been in discussions in developing a "new relationship."
Proposals will be discussed at Kingston Council's People's Services Committee next week before going to Richmond Council's Cabinet next month.
Discussions between the two councils have been underway for 18 months to develop a service more focussed on the needs of children.
It is expected that the new integrated children's service between Kingston and Richmond Councils will be in place by 1 April next year.
In addition to providing better focussed services with greater resilience and capacity there will be better opportunities for staff development and a better trained and more stable workforce.
There will also be opportunities for financial savings initially as the two departmental management teams are merged.
Leader of Kingston Council, Derek Osbourne, said: "This is an innovative way of producing a service that will meet the needs of both boroughs' children in a far more focussed way"
"Many boroughs are looking at cross-border joint working to save money and although that is a consideration our first concern must be to put the lives of children at the heart of our thinking."