Ex­tra £4.8m will be spent on vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren

Coun­cil to dip into re­serves fol­low­ing heavy Of­sted crit­i­cism

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

£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.”

Have you been af­fected by this is­sue? Call the news­desk on 01895 451 034 or email buck­snews@ trin­i­tysouth.co.uk.

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RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY: An­gela Macpher­son

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