Venue: Bourges/Viersen Room - Town Hall
Contact: Gemma George, Democratic Services Manager, 01733 452268 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor North.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
Cabinet received a report which advised on issues highlighted by the self-assessment of the quality of services for children and young people.
The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and the Service Director Children’s Services and Safeguarding introduced the report, highlighting the main issues contained within.
Councillor Serluca left the meeting at this point.
Cabinet debated the report and key points raised and responses to questions included:
· The strategic proposals would return to Cabinet following consultation and a further financial analysis.
· It was established that youth workers and family support workers were much more available than experienced, qualified Social Workers, which were in short supply nationally.
· Working as a Social Worker in Peterborough is particularly challenging given the particularly diverse population with many cultures and languages in comparison with other nearby Authorities.
· It was suggested that by creating multi-disciplinary team it would attract more experienced and qualified social workers.
· A Member posed the question whether the Council was progressing with developing qualified social workers through education in the city. It was advised that this was being done, however would take a number of years to provide benefits. The proposals identified actions to address short term and long term recruitment issues.
· The benefit of Social Workers having a close relationship with other local authority services such as housing services should be used to attract recruits.
· In the past, specific investment had been requested for particular issues, for example, child sexual exploitation. This report, however, sought to develop a longer term, sustainable model to address the day to challenges within children’s social care
· Approximately 800 referrals were made to the service every month. Only 150 of these would be allocated to a social worker, the rest would be diverted to other forms of support. It was believed that a focus on early intervention would reduce the number of referrals and reduce service demand.
· Neglect was an area of focus for the service. The Children’s Safeguarding Board are looking to work with a range of professionals to see how the Council could better meet the needs of families where neglect is the primary concern.
Councillor Serluca re-joined the meeting at this point.
Cabinet debate continued, and included:
· Members were assured that the service was currently function at an acceptable level to keep children safe. This was however, while relying on expensive locum staff and a long term sustainable model was needed.
· Social Workers would make use of update technology, which would assist in reducing the level of duplicated work carried out currently.
· It was noted that support workers would not replace Social Workers, but would complement the work social workers do and provide a higher level of contact with families which social workers were unable to do.
· Peterborough was in a beneficial position of having a Peoples and Communities Directorate and as a unitary authority, there was a direct access to a wide range of services only a short distance away.
The Chairman commented that, in order to assist this initiative, a key worker ... view the full minutes text for item 3.