About Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC)
Who we are
We are a new, independent, not-for-profit-company established to deliver the best possible opportunities for the children of Reading. Our responsibility is to provide excellent services for some of the most vulnerable children. The company went live in December 2018.
Our Aims and Vision
Our vision is to unlock resources to help every child have a happy, healthy and successful life. We believe that we are most likely to succeed if our staff, children and young people we work with are involved and engaged in everything we do.
The aim for the company is to provide expert support to managers and staff, include local stakeholders and be part of Reading’s wider public service team. Our ambition is to be a national leader in social work practice and training and to put safeguarding and developing children’s life chances at the heart of everything we do.
By taking a joined-up approach with its partners in a culture of social enterprise, the company will be able to improve services for the residents of the Borough even in a time of financial constraint by combining a business like and commercial discipline with a public service ethos. The main emphasis of the company will be on improving the quality of services for children, while dealing with the challenges of central government funding reductions and meeting the rising aspirations of residents for high quality, locally delivered services. The Council will ensure that the company plays its part in improving public services through innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to transformation.
For further information about BFfC please visit our website www.brighterfuturesforchildren.org.
About Reading Borough Council
Reading Borough Council is the unitary authority for the geographic area of Reading. The authority is Labour controlled (30 of 46 elected members). Councillor Jason Brock (Labour) is the Leader of the Council. Peter Sloman has been the RBC Chief Executive since July 2017, following nearly a decade as Chief Executive at Oxford City Council and 7 years as Chief Executive at High Peak Borough Council. During his time as Chief Executive, these authorities both received Municipal Journal and LGA Council of the Year awards. Since becoming RBC Chief Executive, Peter Sloman has made the improvement of RBC’s Children’s Services a strategic priority. In June 2016, the authority’s Children’s Services were judged by Ofsted to be inadequate and the Secretary of State issued the authority with a Direction under section 497A(4B) of the Education Act 1996. As part of the Direction, Nick Whitfield was appointed as Commissioner for Children’s Services to oversee improvement in the services. Nick Whitfield is the Chief Executive of Achieving for Children (a successful social enterprise company providing children’s services for Richmond, Kingston and Windsor & Maidenhead) and was the Commissioner for Sunderland Children’s Services (which was established as the company Together for Children in April 2017). In order to drive improvement of the authority’s services for children, the Commissioner recommended that they be transferred to a new company wholly owned by the authority but with the operational freedom to have a singular focus on improving outcomes for Reading’s children. The Commissioner’s recommendation was made with the agreement of the Secretary of State for Education and the Department for Education (DfE) have committed funding to support the establishment of the new company. RBC have developed an ambitious Prospectus for the new organisation setting out its key features, structures and objectives. RBC began the establishment of the new company over autumn 2017 with support from external expertise and legal advisers.
Alongside establishing the new company, RBC Children’s Services are engaged in ongoing improvement work. A Children’s Services Improvement Board was established in Autumn 2016, following the Ofsted judgement, and is independently chaired by Di Smith, an experienced senior children’s services professional with expertise in peer reviews and inspections. Since their initial judgement in June 2016, Ofsted have returned to the authority to undertake monitoring visits.
For further information about Reading as a place please see the ‘About Reading’ attachment on the right-hand side of this page.