Anger as children's homes 'privatised'

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The Independent Online
A Conservative council in London has been condemned by a children's charity for "privatising" all its children's homes and handing them over to a private company and charity to run, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

Wandsworth council has become the first local authority to contract out the management of its children's homes with effect from 1 July, even as the Government is proposing changes to encourage this.

A press statement issued by Shaftesbury Homes, which will lease and run the five homes for at least five years, said this was the first "partnership agreement" between a voluntary organisation and a local authority for medium and long-term residential child care provision. The staff would transfer toShaftesbury Homes. Staff and children had been consulted and were said to be "generally contented".

But the Children's Society, one of several charities which opposed the Government's plans to contract out the management of children's homes, said: "Young people's welfare will be left at the mercy of profit motives."