A new company created to provide Children’s Services for Reading has gone live this morning (Monday 3rd December). From today, Brighter Futures for Children is responsible for delivering Children’s Social Care, Early Help and Education services across the borough.

The Company brings a highly skilled and dedicated team from of specialists who will be focused on providing the best possible services for children and young people in Reading.

Tony Kildare, Managing Director of Brighter Futures for Children, said:

“We are very excited that Brighter Futures for Children is launching at a time when change is needed.

“We will work closely with partners and a wide range of stakeholders to improve services and deliver the best life chances for our children and young people. We believe there is a critical role for the private sector to play in supporting our young people to gain the best opportunities whether through training, apprenticeship or employment.

“We are determined that our children and young people in Reading have a voice in shaping the kinds of services we deliver”.

Brighter Futures for Children is led by Chair Deborah Jenkins MBE DL who has extensive experience working with children and young people, including in her role as Chair of Together for Children in Sunderland.

Ms Jenkins said:

“We have brought together a very strong Board of Directors who are committed to contributing their skills and expertise to lead the change we need in Reading.  The team at Brighter Futures for Children are sharply focused on the improvement journey that lies ahead and are determined to do the best for children and young people in Reading.”

The Company will work closely with partners in the local community and key organisations including the Council, police, public health, voluntary groups and local businesses.

Reading Borough Council has been instrumental in the creation of the Company in co-operation with Nick Whitfield, the government’s Commissioner for Children’s Services, and the Department for Education.

Cllr Jo Lovelock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said:

“This is a significant day which marks a fundamental change in the way Children’s Social Care, Early Help and Education services are delivered in Reading.

“There has been a tremendous amount of work to drive forward improvements to Children’s Services and the Council will not lose sight of its ambition to ensure the borough’s children and young people receive the best possible services.”

Peter Sloman, Chief Executive of Reading Borough Council, said:

“The transfer of Children’s Services to Brighter Futures for Children will result in a step change in the way services are provided for young people in Reading.

“The new company is led by an experienced and dedicated team who will have the flexibility and adaptability to accelerate the pace of improvements required for Children’s Services.”

Stephen Kitchman, Reading’s Director of Children, Education & Early Help Services, said:

“Everyone has been working extremely hard to improve and develop services for children and young people in Reading.

“The creation of Brighter Futures for Children presents a great opportunity to deliver services differently and to really drive the service forward.”

The Children and Families Minister sent a message of support to the new children’s company.

Nadhim Zahawi, Children and Families Minister, said:

“The safety and wellbeing of children must come first, so it is vital that our most vulnerable young people and their families receive the high-quality care and support they deserve.

“Children’s trusts across the country have shown some really positive results in turning services around and I look forward to hearing about the progress Brighter Futures for Children makes in improving support for the children and families in Reading who need it most.”

Notes to editors

Reading Borough Council has been working closely with the Department for Education (DfE) to drive forward improvements in Children’s Services following an ‘Inadequate’ judgement by Ofsted inspectors in August 2016.

The DfE-appointed Commissioner Nick Whitfield recommended in July 2017 that the Council’s Children’s Services should be transferred to a company, wholly-owned by the Council.

Reading Borough Council supported the recommendation to establish a company to deliver children’s social care, early help, education and health services and Brighter Futures for Children was created in April 2018 as a result.

The company has its own independent board and a decision-making process, separate to the Council’s. It also operates within its own ring-fenced budget. The Council will however, continue to hold the company to account for performance.