With com­mu­nity ed­i­tor

Mort Smith

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

SO BUCKS County Coun­cil is con­tem­plat­ing re­cruit­ing so­cial work­ers from over­seas to im­prove the qual­ity of its child­care ser­vices?

This fol­lows an Of­sted as­sess­ment in Au­gust that la­belled the coun­cil’s child­care ser­vices as ‘in­ad­e­quate,’ which coun­cil leader Martin Tett de­scribed as a ‘wake-up call’ dur­ing a de­bate on the mat­ter by the full coun­cil re­cently.

Coun­cil cab­i­net mem­bers say the prob­lem has oc­curred be­cause there is a short­age of pro­fes­sional so­cial work­ers in the UK over­all, and that Buck­ing­hamshire has a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem be­cause it is so close to London, where salaries for so­cial work­ers are con­sid­er­ably higher than in our county.

In re­sponse, the coun­cil says it will invest a to­tal of £5.8mil­lion to im­prove the ser­vice.

My view on this is that the coun­cil should not be con­tem­plat­ing re­cruit­ing so­cial work­ers from other parts of Europe to look after chil­dren.

Surely they de­serve the best pos­si­ble care from the coun­cil?

They need peo­ple who un­der­stand their prob­lems, who can em­pathise with them in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions and who can re­late to their cul­tural back­ground.

I don’t doubt for one sec­ond that so­cial work­ers from abroad are well trained and, in the main, per­fectly com­pe­tent – but will they un­der­stand our young peo­ple in the same way as a per­son born and bred in this coun­try?

I am not sure, no mat­ter how strin­gent the as­sess­ment they have to go through be­fore be­ing of­fered a job.

If the bot­tom line is that Bucks County Coun­cil has to di­vert more money to pro­tect­ing some of the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of our so­ci­ety, then that is pre­cisely what they should do.

After the meet­ing 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.”

Con­tact me at mort.smith@ trin­i­tymir­ror.com with any com­ments or sug­ges­tions for a topic for me to pon­der.

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