26 March, 2013 | By Kaye Wiggins
“The government has appointed a leading academic to rule on whether troubled Doncaster MBC should be stripped of its legal responsibility for children’s services.
Julian Le Grand, the adviser at the heart of the Cabinet Office’s drive to encourage public sector mutuals and a former senior policy adviser to Tony Blair, has been asked to assess whether the service should be outsourced – along with the legal duty to safeguard children.
It would be the first time a council had been stripped of the legal duty. The council’s children’s services were found to be “inadequate” following an Ofsted inspection in November, having struggled since 2008 when the watchdog found them to be among the worst in the country.
A letter from education secretary Michael Gove to Doncaster MBC’s elected mayor Peter Davies (Independent), seen by LGC, says the council must also take “immediate” steps to bring in an outside body to help improve the services in the short term – although ultimate responsibility will remain with the council for the time being.
Mr Le Grand will be supported by Alan Wood, director of children’s services at Hackney LBC.”

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