Radio Sandwell Local News

Birmingham children's care team 'not fit for purpose'

2015-06-03 16:27:49

Keanu WilliamsThe council was told it failed to prevent the death of Keanu Williams in 2011

A heavily-criticised council does not expect its children's social care team to be fit for purpose until April 2017.

Children's services in Birmingham have consistently been rated "inadequate" by Ofsted.

At a briefing, Brigid Jones, who oversees children and family services, said the council had "come a long way".

However, she said she did not expect children's services to be "fit for purpose" for an unannounced Ofsted inspection expected by April 2016.

'Collectively failed'

At the social care review into the council's three-year plan into children's services, Ms Jones said: "We have come a long way in the last year but we can't underestimate how far we've still got to go.

"Children are definitely safer than they were a year ago but there still not as safe as we would like them to be."

The new plan, which will cost £94m over three years, was announced in April.

New IT and upgrades to existing systems are to be introduced, including mobile devices for all social workers.

Under the plans, the number of front-line social worker posts will increase from 511 to almost 600 by March 2017.

Brigid JonesMs Jones says children are "definitely safer"

The authority has struggled to recruit enough social workers over recent years, particularly those with substantial experience.

A serious case review said workers, together with other agencies, "collectively failed to prevent" the death of Keanu Williams, in 2011.

Ms Jones said the recruitment of social workers had gone up but they still needed more.

She added around a third of the council's staff were agency workers, which it hoped to get down to 15%.


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