The Island is "more than capable of dealing with the challenges it faces" in the delivery of children's services, says a senior Isle of Wight Council official, as a decade-long strategic partnership comes to an end.

The comments follow warnings from Hampshire County Council officers, as the authority cut ties with the Isle of Wight Council.

The Island's council is in the process of rebuilding its own department, but will continue to buy services from the mainland authority.

Hampshire's warnings include a possible rise in the number of children in care, if transformation programs are not kept up, and what might happen if Island officers take 'their eye off the ball'.

Cllr Jonathan Bacon, the Isle of Wight Council's cabinet member for children's services, says he has absolute confidence in the new people joining the department and believes the council will have a very strong team, which will work in the best interests of Island children.

The partnership, which improved services from inadequate to good over its lifetime, will end on January 31.

From February, new director, Ashley Whittaker, will lead the Island's children's services department. 

Speaking at a meeting last week, the current children's services director for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Stuart Ashley, said officers had been working well for a smooth transition, but he said change comes with a risk - the biggest of which is with social care.

He said: "We don't want people taking their eye off the ball.

"Because of the services the Island will continue to buy from Hampshire, the front door will be fine, but the longer-term casework will be the risk - where people forget the rules and don't follow due process."

Deputy director for the Hampshire and IW, Steph How, said if the Island loses pace on the transformation programmes of care placements — which Hampshire has been undertaking for the past eight years — it could pose a significant risk, leading to a sharp rise in the number of children in care and in costs to the council.

Ms How said some partners may become anxious because "Hampshire would not be there to support them", which could lead to an increase in referrals.

There are also concerns about the recruitment and retention of staff and headteachers, as well as support for all aspects of the transformation of the SEND program.

Responding, Cllr Bacon said Hampshire's comments were helpful and were taken as advice, ahead of the work to be carried out in the coming months.

He said anxiety levels would depend on "how the new team runs with the baton they are being handed".