23rd January, 2022 2:07 pm
Social workers’ caseloads have been reduced in the wake of a damning investigation into Bury’s children’s services, the borough council has said.
An Ofsted report in December found Bury Council’s “serious failures” had left “too many children at risk of harm”.
A response to the report, calling for “swift and decisive action”, said the council had taken several measures to rectify the issues.
Those include new leadership and stabilising the department’s workforce.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the report on the response would go before a council scrutiny committee on Thursday.
After the inspection, which rated the area’s children’s services as inadequate in three of four categories, the secretary of state for children and families issued an improvement notice to the council and appointed an advisor.
The notice required the council to produce a plan to address the areas identified in the report and any recommendations made by the advisor and maintain an improvement board with an independent chairperson to oversee the implementation of the plan by December 2022.
‘Good or better’
The report on the response said the council had started a three-phase approach.
It said the council took “immediate action” following the Ofsted findings and produced “a detailed one year action plan and a three-year strategic improvement plan”.
“Bury’s vulnerable children and families deserve services to be good or better,” it said.
“This will require a council-wide commitment to child-centred improvement and for children’s services to be at the heart of the wider reform of public services.”
It also said the council would provide “the necessary financial investment to improve the service”, but there needed to be “agreement on what constitutes best value for that investment over the long term”.
Measures to improve services included permanent new leadership arrangements, which had been put in place on an interim basis in September 2021, a reduction in caseloads for social workers and an increase in stability in the social care workforce.
It added that action had been taken since the Ofsted inspection to ensure that children and young people were safe.
Source: Bury Council lays out children’s services improvement measures – BBC News (January 2022)
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