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Richmond and Kingston's children's services handed funding boost
Richmond and Kingston councils have been given £500,000 for their joint children’s service.
Achieving for Children (AFC) was set up as a social enterprise jointly owned by both authorities to provide children’s services.
The Government funding, available from April, will help fund ICT development and establish a centre of excellence for other authorities and public service providers.
The merger follows in the shadow of Kingston safeguarding being rated inadequate by Ofsted and it is hoped AFC will save £6m over three years.
Richmond council leader Lord True said: “I’m glad Richmond Council is again at the forefront of improvement in education and children’s services and that this has been recognised at the highest level.
“This is tremendous news for children and parents across Kingston and Richmond.
“Our two boroughs are working in a very innovative partnership to secure the very best outcomes for the children and young people.
“Not only are we achieving greater resilience for the future we will be making essential savings for our local taxpayers.”
In the past, Lord True suggested the company could eventually be outsourced to a private contractor free of council control but Liberal Democrat-controlled Kingston rejected the idea.
Kingston council leader Liz Green said both administrations had to meet in the middle when it came to agreeing the future of AFC - which meant keeping the company fully-owned by the two councils.
Coun Green said: “Our aspirations are founded in pragmatism rather than idealism.
“We simply want what is best for our children, young people, parents and council taxpayers, and we share a commitment to make change happen.
“We have already successfully come together to share our HR and audit services. AFC will go wider and further.”
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