Ex­tra funds ploughed into chil­dren’s ser­vice

Coun­cil spends another £1.64m on im­prove­ments

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

BUCKS County Coun­cil is set to re­lease a fur­ther £1.64mil­lion for its ‘ro­bust’ chil­dren’s ser­vice im­prove­ment plan.

Chil­dren’s ser­vices re­ceived an ‘in­ad­e­quate’ rat­ing from Of­sted in the sum­mer and the depart­ment now needs to sub­mit an im­prove­ment plan. The money is on top of £4.8m from the coun­cil’s re­serves and the £1m from its con­tin­gency funds.

Mike Ap­p­le­yard, the act­ing cab­i­net mem­ber for chil­dren’s ser­vices, said: “The whole coun­cil is work­ing hard for us to achieve a good sta­tus [in Of­sted] as soon as we can, it is very im­por­tant to me that we put in a sus­tain­able plan. We want to get it right.”

The pre­vi­ous cab­i­net mem­ber for chil­dren’s ser­vices An­gela Macpher­son re­signed from her po­si­tion due to ‘per­sonal rea­sons’.

The plan has drafted, dis­cussed been and im­proved sev­eral times by the coun­cil­lors.

Leader of the coun­cil Martin Tett said: “It is to the credit of this county coun­cil that we are mak­ing sure that it is a good, ro­bust im­prove­ment plan.”

The coun­cil also said it is try­ing to re­cruit and re­tain ex­pe­ri­enced so­cial work­ers.

Mr Tett added: “There is a na­tional short­age of ex­pe­ri­enced so­cial work­ers and the gov­ern­ment has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to ad­dress it.”

David John­ston, coun­cil of­fi­cer for the chil­dren and fam­ily ser­vice, said: “A suit­able work­force is a key is­sue. We are work­ing with other lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to see what they have done to sta­bilise their work­force.”

The coun­cil is also look­ing to re­cruit ex­pe­ri­enced so­cial work­ers from over­seas.

The im­prove­ment plan, agreed at a cab­i­net meet­ing ear­lier this year, in­cluded im­prov­ing lead­er­ship, im­prov­ing the qual­ity of so­cial work prac­tice and im­prov­ing the strength of the work­force.

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