MORE than 20 new social workers will be recruited by Worcestershire County Council as part of the biggest-ever shake-up of children’s services.
Five senior managers are being axed and the overall number of social workers will be increased 20 per cent to about 150.
The investment comes two years after safeguarding children’s services in Worcestershire were lambasted by Ofsted inspectors and deemed to be failing.
It also follows the infamous Baby P case, which caused a national review into the way children at risk of harm are protected.
The shake-up, labelled “transformational” by the county council, also includes spending £48,000 on two ‘emotional behavioural difficulties’ units and £106,000 on strengthening the outreach service, where expert staff go into homes to help vulnerable families.
As part of the massive overhaul a new IT system will be established which aims to speed everything up.
Councillor Liz Eyre, the cabinet member responsible for young people, said: “What we will do is truly transformational – these are big changes.
“It’s about cutting bureaucracy and making sure we spend more time with children.”
The changes, which are partly being implemented to prevent more children going into expensive care homes run by outside agencies, will be implemented next year.
Formal consultation will take place between now and January with the managers affected.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, county council leader, added: “We still have a long way to go, but we are committing serious cash to this.”
County Hall is trying to save at least £90 million by 2015/16, including 857 job losses, but admitted last week the cuts are highly likely to top £100 million.
Despite that, it has continued to increase spending on vulnerable children and social care in general.