Children's services in Richmond and Kingston to benefit from Government-backed programme

Release Date: 21/03/2017

Achieving for Children (AfC) has been awarded a grant over the next four years, as part of a Government programme to showcase best practice in children’s services across the country.

AfC was established in April 2014. The company is owned by both Richmond and Kingston councils and provides children’s services for both boroughs. In 2015 the organisation was named by Department of Education as one of its eight ‘Partners in Practice’, tasked with leading improvement in children's services across the country.

As a ‘Partner in Practice’, AfC has been awarded a grant to test new ways to support some of the most vulnerable children in Kingston and Richmond – including an innovative approach supporting teenagers on the edge of the care system.

AfC has already been successful in helping several other local authorities rated as 'inadequate' to improve their services. In 2016, Ofsted have recognised the improvement of services in Sunderland, Doncaster and Wandsworth, all of which have been supported by AfC over the last year. The grant will give AfC additional capacity to support other local authorities who need help to improve.

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

“Since AfC was launched, we have not only helped Kingston improve their children’s services provision, but we have also helped a number of other local authorities. This grant is great news as it will not only help us to further strengthen services in our home boroughs, but it will also enable us to share our experience with more authorities elsewhere in the country.”

Cllr Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“This is a great accolade to the ground-breaking vision of Richmond Council in creating a not-for-profit enterprise to improve children’s services and our partnership with Kingston. Being part of the Partners in Practice programme reaffirms our position as a Council the whole country looks to for creative leadership and ideas and one of the best-performing authorities for children’s services in the country. This funding boost will enable us to develop further the innovative and exciting work we are already doing to transform social work, and to share that best practice with other local authorities, as, in the spirit of compassionate concern that inspired AFC’s creation, we always hoped we could, for the benefit of vulnerable young people across the country.”

Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said: “Our innovative partnership has transformed the way in which we deliver services to children and young people across the borough. The investment from the government will offer even more opportunities for AfC to showcase best practice in social care and highlights the government’s confidence in our ability to lead the way in delivering these vital services.”

Updated: 21 June 2017