Chil­dren’s ser­vices re­fer­rals on rise

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

RE­FER­RALS to Bucks County Coun­cil’s chil­dren’s ser­vices re­main high.

Over the past 18 months, the av­er­age num­ber of re­fer­rals has in­creased from 1,400 to 1,600.

David John­ston, se­nior of­fi­cer from the ed­u­ca­tion and chil­dren’s team, said: “This will be partly be­cause our part­ner agen­cies and mem­bers of the public are be­gin­ning to no­tify us of con­cerns they may have about chil­dren and their well­be­ing.

“It is also a tes­ta­ment of some of the re­sponses they get, which give the public and other part­ner agen­cies some con­fi­dence in com­ing to us.”

The coun­cil’s chil­dren’s ser­vices was la­belled in­ad­e­quate by Of­sted last year.

In re­sponse, the ed­u­ca­tion, skills and chil­dren’s se­lect com­mit­tee has launched an in-depth in­quiry to re­view the im­prove­ment plans for Buck­ing­hamshire’s County Coun­cil’s chil­dren’s ser­vices.

As part of the re­view, the in­quiry will ex­am­ine ev­i­dence from a wide range of ex­pert wit­nesses in­clud­ing those from other lo­cal author­i­ties and part­ner agen­cies.

Mr John­ston added: “We have seen in­creased pres­sure – we have re­cruited more per­ma­nent staff dur­ing this quar­ter and we are mov­ing to­wards a more sta­ble work­force.”

The county coun­cil has an im­prove­ment board, which meets monthly, to dis­cuss chil­dren’s ser­vices.

Leader of the coun­cil Martin Tett said: “There are many chal­lenges in chil­dren’s ser­vices; adopt­ing, fos­ter­ing, re­cruit­ing enough ex­pe­ri­enced so­cial work­ers and we are not unique in hav­ing these prob­lems.”

The leader of the coun­cil high­lighted that as there is more pub­lic­ity on chil­dren’s ser­vices na­tion­ally, it raises the like­li­hood of peo­ple con­tact­ing the coun­cil re­gard­ing an is­sue.

He said: “Peo­ple are aware of Jimmy Sav­ille and Rolf Harris and they have quite rightly height­ened the aware­ness of this area.”

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