Progress is being made on the development of a regional adoption agency in the North East, which is due for final approval in the autumn.
Northumberland is working with North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside councils on the creation of its agency, to be called Adopt North East.
Four voluntary adoption agencies – After Adoption, Barnardos, ARC NE and Durham Family Welfare (DFW) – are also involved in the plans.
An update to Northumberland councillors this month reported that North Tyneside Council is lined up to act as the lead and host authority for Adopt North East.
It is proposed that the new arrangements will start in early December, following final approval by the five councils in September.
Northumberland County Council’s cabinet approved the proposals, including a draft business case, to go out to consultation with stakeholders.
The report highlighted a number of key risks and how they can be mitigated.
These include disruption in the transition period meaning managers are focused on the change process rather than service delivery, adopters and adoptive children losing confidence during the change process, and set-up and running costs being underestimated.
Essentially these will all be mitigated through ‘thorough and effective’ transition planning as well as monitoring of the process.
The development of regional adoption agencies is part of the national agenda set out by the Department for Education in two papers in 2015 and 2016.
The Government has signalled a clear intention that by 2020 all local authorities will be part of regional agencies.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service