A new company set up to run Kingston and Richmond’s children’s services, with the aim of saving £6m over three years, launched yesterday.

The Achieving for Children social enterprise company is jointly owned by the two councils and will encompass child protection, social care, education and health.

Richmond’s Liberal Democrat politicians had raised concerns the company could be sold off to private interests in future by the ruling Conservative party.

But Kingston Council leader Liz Green denied the possibility last year.

The merger comes after Kingston’s children’s services were rated “inadequate” by Ofsted two years running.

The enterprise, which has taken three years and £1.5m to set up, will be overseen by government watchdog the Regulator of Community Interest Companies.

Chief executive Nick Whitfield, previously director of children’s services, thanked Richmond and Kingston council officers for their work in preparing for the launch.