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Liverpool council to hire 160 new staff in ‘unprecedented’ investment in children’s social care

Liverpool City Council has pledged to hire 160 new staff as part of an £8m restructuring in a “radical new approach” its children’s social care services.

Under its budget proposals for 2019-20, the council wants to half the caseloads of social workers dealing with children in Liverpool after an Ofsted report last year found that caseloads were far too high.

The proposed restructuring, which will need to be approved along with the rest of the budget proposals at a cabinet meeting on Friday, will hire 115 new social workers, 18 senior social workers, and 22 deputy team managers.

The new strategy, ‘Signs of Safety,’ is a model already rolled out at 10 UK councils, and Liverpool council said its introduction will improve outcomes, drive down demand on services, and enhance the quality of services.

Liverpool has one of the highest levels of children in care in the UK, and the council says that constantly increasing demand is set against a backdrop of services “ravaged by corrosive cuts,” adding that the new approach was meant to protect the city’s most vulnerable.

Ofsted inspectors had said that Liverpool had been “struggling to manage the level of demand” after the number of children in need of care had dramatically increased in recent years.

The cabinet member for children’s services commented: “This is an unprecedented investment by this council in children's services.

“No other council in the country is doing this, outside of a poor Ofsted inspection, and this shows our commitment to children and families in our city.”

The council said the new model would “reduce the number of children each social worker is responsible for and allow them more time to work with children, young people and families.”

A report to the council’s cabinet on 25 January will recommend the restructure, which will see the number of full-time posts increased from 313 to 473 to manage cases for the city’s 1,250 children.

The announcement comes against a backdrop of widespread local government cuts to public services and jobs, and just last week Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotherham proposed introducing a ‘metro mayor tax’ to cover the combined authority’s running costs and projects.

 Image credit - ad_vaughan


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