Decision details

Improvement of Children's social work practice

Decision Maker: Cabinet member children and families

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


To approve the use of earmarked reserves to provide the opportunity to recruit to improve the quality of children's social work.


Cabinet has recognised that the council can support children's social care work further by enabling more staff to be recruited within this financial year. This is in conjunction with work that the council has already done to increase the number of social work posts, expand the early help service and family support service to work with families and business support to take some tasks off social workers.


The proposals in this report will enable the service to potentially recruit five social work posts (including a senior practitioner post) and a manager to provide further capacity that would be located in the assessment service and carry out assessment team work. This would enable some cases to be held in the assessment teams rather than in the child protection court teams and therefore lessen the pressure on social workers, particularly in the child protection court teams where we are finding it particularly difficult to recruit agency and permanent staff, despite all the work the council has done to improve the retention and recruitment offer.



the use of earmarked reserves of up to £150k to recruit 6 children’s social work posts before the end of the financial year be approved.

Alternative options considered:

1.         To not use the earmarked reserves for the purpose approved by cabinet. This would not enable the service to try to recruit to hard to fill social work and supervisory posts and would not enable the council to do all it could to support good quality children’s social care practice.

2.         To recruit to non-social work qualified posts. This could increase the overall capacity of the children’s safeguarding and family support workforce but some cases must be held by qualified social workers, so recruitment whilst valuable and enabling the overall service to work in different ways with vulnerable children, young people and families would not enable the service to try to address caseloads and quality of social work.


Wards Affected: (All Wards);

Contact: Chris Baird, Director for children and families Email: Tel: 01432 260264.

Publication date: 22/11/2019

Date of decision: 22/11/2019

Effective from: 29/11/2019

Accompanying Documents: