Joint children’s services company to welcome new member Council

Release Date: 05 July 2017

Achieving for Children (AfC), the community interest company owned by Richmond and Kingston councils to deliver children's services for the boroughs, will be joined by another local authority – the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

When AfC was originally created, the focus was to develop nationally renowned children’s and safeguarding services for Richmond and Kingston. The business model was designed to enable further trading and expansion.

At a full Richmond Council meeting last night (4 July) Members endorsed proposals that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead should join the company as a co-owner, bringing a £750k joining fee. This follows full feasibility work and a review of governance. Richmond Scrutiny Committee reviewed the proposal prior to the Cabinet consideration and agreement at Kingston Council in April.

This partnership will have a number of benefits, including greater resilience and a more stable work force, improved service provision, more diversity across the organisation and a greater potential for innovation through sharing of best practice.

Proposing the new member, Former Leader of Richmond Council, Lord True, said:

“My vision was to establish AfC as a community interest company that would not only improve and deliver quality children’s services at a reduced cost, but also seek to use its skills and expertise to help other councils and children in need outside our Borough in the future.

“By forming a partnership with Kingston, we made back office savings, but, more importantly, we have been able to deliver better results for children in both boroughs, for young people and their families. Now I hope my successors will take that mission further.”

Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

“Safeguarding and children’s welfare is at the very heart of what Achieving for Children do and they have an excellent reputation as being best in class. Their work within Kingston has helped deliver quality children’s services and the new partnership will bring benefits for all, offering Kingston further opportunity to innovate.”

Nick Whitfield, Chief Executive of Achieving for Children, said:

“We’re looking forward to welcoming colleagues from Windsor and Maidenhead into the company. Growing AfC in this way will benefit the children and young people we serve by enabling us to share best practice across a wider area, as well as give our staff more opportunities to develop and progress.”

Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, added:

“We have already been working closely with Richmond and Kingston as our children’s services prepares for the upcoming transfer into Achieving for Children.

“Now that all the important preparation has been done we are ready to begin working in partnership and will be in an even stronger position to continue doing everything we can to give young people the best start in life.”

AfC was established in April 2014. The company provides children’s services for both boroughs. Since the launch AfC has supported a number of other local authorities including: Sunderland, Doncaster, Wandsworth and Reading. AfC is also one of seven national ‘Partners in Practice’, selected by the Department for Education to trial new approaches and lead improvement across the sector.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P313/17

Updated: 31 July 2017