Extra £4.8m will be spent on vulnerable children
Council to dip into reserves following heavy Ofsted criticism
£4.8MILLION of extra funding to help the county’s most vulnerable children has been unanimously agreed.
Buckinghamshire County Council agreed to release the funds from reserves after recommendations were made following an Ofsted report that was carried out that deemed children’s services inadequate.
The report listed failings across the service run by the council, criticising ‘widespread and serious’ failings in the way it safeguards vulnerable young people.
Council leader Martin Tett said: “We have been looking at the significant causes of some of those conclusions, and one of the things I would reiterate is that I am absolutely not complacent in any way, shape or form about some of the significant challenges we face to improve to the level required.”
During number of 2013/14 requests the for information increased by 71 per cent, and the number of referrals or requests for action to a perceived or potential threat rose by 70 per cent to 7,675. Just under half of those referrals came from the police and health partners. Police referrals rose by 143 per cent and those from health by 139 per cent.
Mr Tett added: “These are very large increases, and although the number of referrals has begun to stabilise, what we cannot anticipate properly at the moment is what will happen as a result of more recent publicity with regard to national figures, also the situation in Rotherham and potential other cases more locally.
“I think we have to be prepared for potentially another sharp increase in referrals and that again is a very us.”
Cabinet member for children’s services Angela Macpherson said: “Our staff deserve great praise for their dedication and commitment when they are under great pressure from increasing workloads and complex often distressing cases.
“The bottom line in all of this is that we, the council, have the responsibility to improve our services for our most vulnerable children so that we can deliver the best possible outcomes.
“I am totally committed to this work and my aim is to get us back to a ‘good’ judgment within 18 months.”
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RESPONSIBILITY: Angela Macpherson