A COMPANY has been set up as part of attempts to improve children’s services in Sunderland.

The Sunderland City Council service, which was rated inadequate by Ofsted in July 2015, has now set up Together for Children to provide integrated children’s services covering education, children’s social care and early help.

Council leader Councillor Paul Watson, said: “We recognised early on that there was a need for a fundamental change in the way children’s services were delivered to ensure the best possible future for our children and young people.

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“There has been a tremendous amount of hard work to improve the service since July 2015, with some significant improvements, and the last three Ofsted monitoring visits have all reported steady progress.

“We believe Together for Children is best placed to build on what has been achieved already and to drive forward the further improvements that are needed.”

Nick Whitfield, the Government’s Commissioner for Children’s Services, said: “Sunderland is the first council in the country to voluntarily transfer the day to day running of children’s services out of council control in co-operation with the DfE, so Together for Children is unique and I look forward to seeing it continue to build on the steady progress that has been made so far.”