Children’s welfare given a £9m boost
Cash set to improve services and put right ‘inadequate’ standards
NINE million pounds will be pumped into Buckinghamshire’s children’s services to rectify the ‘inadequate’ grade the county was given by independent inspectors Ofsted.
Following Ofsted’s damning report in August this year, Bucks County Council has written an improvement plan for its children’s services portfolio.
The county council’s children’s services are designed to safeguard and provide for vulnerable children.
The Ofsted report criticised the way in which the county deals with children who need help and protection, how it looks after children and its leadership and governance.
It was decided at a cabinet meeting on Monday that the council would release an additional £1.64m from its general reserves and £1.73m would be given in the future to deliver the improvement plan.
The council has already agreed to give £4.8m from the council’s reserves and £1m from the contingency budget.
Cabinet member for children’s services Angela Macpherson resigned last week citing personal reasons, and Mike Appleyard has now taken the role as acting cabinet member.
Speaking to the Advertiser after the meeting, Mr Appleyard said: “One of the main issues that we have is that there are not enough social workers to go around.
“People prefer to work in London where they can get a few extra thousand pounds. We need to address it; one thing that we will start to do is ask social workers to stay here for two years in return for more money.
“We have got to go out and recruit people and that costs money. We have got to look at fast tracking social workers, mentoring and special training.”
The funds will also go towards improvement in management of the children’s services, improving the service for children in care and managing referrals more effectively.
Mr Appleyard said: “We have had an increase in the number of referrals and every one of them needs investigating. The extra referrals have got to be funded somehow.”
The council hopes to rectify the situation and bring the children’s services up to standard within two years. There will be a an Ofsted employee based at the county council to overlook the improvements.
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