Care costs revealed

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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TOWN hall chiefs are facing a further bill running into hundreds of thousands to tackle the resort’s crisis in children’s social care.

The council has revealed it needs to appoint up to 15 new social workers at a cost of around £569,000 to handle the town’s rising number of children being taken into care after a damning Ofsted report revealed the council was failing to look after vulnerable children.

Councillors are being asked to approve the move which will ease the pressure on existing social workers.

Currently the average caseload per social worker employed in children’s social care in Blackpool is 27, when the recommended level is between 16 and 18.

The number of children in care is now 474 – however it is hoped increasing the number of social workers would help reduce the figure, which would bring the council savings in future years.

Bosses have already had to spend £418,000 to pay for the failures outlined by Ofsted inspectors in their report into Blackpool’s children’s services.

That paid for increased resources including £54,000 for an interim chief officer for 90 days, £84,000 for case reviews and £90,000 to employ additional social workers.

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for children’s services on Blackpool Council, said: “Safeguarding the most vulnerable children in this town is a main priority, and we will make sure the correct resources are in place to ensure this happens.

“The number of looked after children in Blackpool has risen over the last few years, which is something we are working to bring down. What we must do is to make sure provisions are in place so social workers are able to help families look after their own children, as well as moving some children currently in care into loving foster homes.

“By putting in place a more suitable number of social workers, it will allow them to have less time pressures and therefore more ability to compassionately help families. This in turn will lead to a better standard of care, allowing more children to be cared for properly at home by families who love and protect them.”

An Ofsted report in July branded children’s services in Blackpool “inadequate” and inspectors demanded action to rectify the situation.

The report will go before the council’s executive today at 6pm.