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Social worker recruitment campaign working

Created on 10/03/2019 @ 21:19
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Recruiting social workers to Powys is bearing fruit according to council chiefs.

In recent weeks, Powys County Council (PCC) launched a recruitment campaign as the Children’s Services department looks to rebuild from the inside, following critical reports.

One of the major issues the under-fire department has to address is replacing the number of expensive agency staff it has to use, with its own staff.

This has seen funding spiral upwards to £24 million. In next year’s budget £3 million to £7 million has been set aside “in case of pressures” in the service.

Recruitment teams have been at the Compass Jobs Fair for social workers in Birmingham.

Director of Social Services, Ali Bulman, told the Local Democracy Service that the social media campaign using current staff to entice new workers to the county has had a lot of interest.

At the Full Council Children’s Services portfolio holder, Cllr Rachel Powell, said: “We have made some drastic improvements in many areas which often don’t get the limelight that they truly deserve and we are working and trying to create opportunities to see how else we can work better and more efficiently.

“We are most definitely turning the corner, we have a reduction of £230,000 overspend, with plans to recover the budget in 2019/20. The reduction is made up of agency spend.”

Cllr Powell went on to say that different packages of care and support that brought children back into Powys would bring more savings.

She added: “We have successfully recruited two of our senior specialist social worker posts and that’s part of the new structure and will contribute to further reduction of spend in agency staff.

“A lot has happened and there has been a lot of hard work, I am very confident we will continue making improvements.”

A recent Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) report on Children’s Services published in January following an inspection of the department in October 2018, noted “significant improvements” since the damning report of October 2017. But they still had “serious concerns”.

In their last report, CIW has given PCC four priority areas for improvement:

·      Ensure there is a clear strategic vision to deliver a seamless service and further develop collaborative working with health, education and the third sector to benefit children and families.

·      Develop better commissioning arrangements to ensure appropriate placements for children who are looked after.

·      Ensure early multi agency involvement in safeguarding and ensure an immediate response to children at risk of sexual exploitation.

·      Ensure investigation of complaints are thorough and in accordance with Welsh Government guidelines.

CIW will return to re-inspect the department during the next year.

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