‘Pay more or re­cruit work­ers from abroad’

Coun­cil looks to im­prove its chil­dren’s ser­vices Of­sted

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Laura Mowat laura.mowat@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

SO­CIAL work­ers could be re­cruited from abroad so a coun­cil can ful­fil its role as ‘cor­po­rate par­ents’ to safe­guard chil­dren.

Bucks County Coun­cil plans to invest £4.8mil­lion from its re­serves and £1mil­lion from its con­tin­gency funds into its chil­dren’s ser­vices. Of­sted la­belled its chil­dren’s ser­vices as in­ad­e­quate in a re­port in Au­gust. The mat­ter was dis­cussed at a Bucks County Coun­cil full meet­ing on Thurs­day last week.

Speak­ing after the meet­ing, deputy cab­i­net mem­ber for chil­dren’s ser­vices David Martin said: “There is a na­tional short­age of pro­fes­sional so­cial work­ers, what makes it worse in Bucks is the prox­im­ity we are to London. You can be in London in half an hour and

(From left) An­gela Macpher­son, David Martin and Martin Tett there is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent rate of pay.

“We are look­ing at a num­ber of mea­sures in im­prov­ing re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion. One of the mea­sures is a com­plete re­view of the salary pack­age and another is the pos­si­bil­ity of re­cruit­ing highly qual­i­fied peo­ple from abroad but they would have to have a strin­gent as­sess­ment.”

At the meet­ing, leader of the county coun­cil Martin Tett said: “Chil­dren’s safe­guard­ing is the most im­por­tant and se­ri­ous topic that any coun­cil can have be­fore it. It is the safe­guard­ing and keep­ing safe of chil­dren in the county.”

Cab­i­net mem­ber for chil­dren’s ser­vices An­gela Macpher­son said: “I am to­tally com­mit­ted to this work and my aim is to get Bucks back to a good judge­ment within 18 months.”

The coun­cil has re­ceived an in­crease of 70 per cent in re­fer­rals for cases in chil­dren’s

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