Extra funding to protect vulnerable children agreed

A FURTHER £1.1m is to be invested in recruiting more children’s social workers to help manage caseloads in Staffordshire.

The county council’s cabinet agreed the funding, despite the wider financial challenges facing the authority, after recognising the increasing pressures on children’s services.

The county council will now look to launch a recruitment campaign to take on at least a further 20 specialist social workers to help support the county’s most vulnerable children.

Mark Sutton, (pictured), cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: “Our staff do an amazing job helping the most vulnerable young people day in and day out and this is why our social care services quite rightly has an excellent reputation across the country for doing so.

“However, nationally children’s services have faced increasing pressures and here in Staffordshire we have recognised the need to tackle increasing workloads and have taken steps to address this.

This funding will now help us to both recruit and retain staff to ensure the most vulnerable children continue to get the right support when they need it.”

The cabinet agreed the extra funding despite the council facing a significant financial challenge to close a £35m shortfall and deliver a balanced budget.

The council is already taking proactive steps to help bridge the gap, but has warned that reduced national funding together with increased pressures on adult social care and children’s service, is leaving the council facing difficult decisions.

The proactive approach includes pressing for long-term national solutions on funding for care, bidding for a business rates pilot scheme, growing council tax through housing development, greater focus on a digital approach and making the best use of the council’s assets.

Since 2009, the county council has reduced its running costs by £240m and current in-house measures include looking at more efficient ways of working and  greater use of technology.