Manchester City Council

New social work jobs created as council agrees extra £10m funding

Proposals given the green light this week will see more than £10m extra cash ploughed into children's services in Manchester over the next five years to fund new social work jobs.

132 new jobs will be created thanks to the extra funding which is coming from council reserves. 

The recruitment drive is part of a longer term strategy to reduce demand for support and further improve services in the city.

The investment of £10.2m in new staff is designed to further build on improvements already made since the council's Ofsted's inspection in 2014 found services to children and young people inadequate.

Of the £10.2m an extra £3.648m will be spent this year 2016/17, followed by £4.094m for the period 2017/18, reducing down to £1.065m in 2018/19, and £0.311m in 2020/21 as the current demand for high levels of support from children's social care reduces over time, as a direct result of the lower number of children assigned to each social worker.

The council has already invested £14 million to help improve the lives of children and young people since Ofsted's inspection in 2014, and this has resulted in significant improvements and progress in a number of areas of work. 

These include the recruitment of a new senior leadership team and permanent Director of Children's Services - putting the department back on a sure footing; a reduction in the number of looked after children from 1,400 in 2014/15 to 1,237 in January 2016; improved adoption rates with more children adopted and more quickly; more foster carers recruited; improved multi agency working through the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub; and a new specialist service for children with disabilities.

A key priority now is to further reduce the number of children each social worker deals with to give social workers more time to spend working with each child to ensure the best possible outcomes for them.

Social worker caseloads in the city have already been reduced over the last two years from an average of 30 when Ofsted inspectors came in, down to 27 in 2014/15, and down again to the current average of 24 cases per social worker. 

The new recruitment drive will see caseloads further reduced to an average of 18 per social worker.

Councillor Sheila Newman, Executive Member for Children's Services, Manchester City Council, said: "The timing is now right to invest this extra money directly in more social work staff as part of our longer term strategy to reduce demand and sustain improvements made so far.

"Our frontline social workers do one of the hardest jobs in the city. I regularly visit them and know they're determined to do their best for Manchester children. We want to ensure that every child and young person we come into contact with gets the best possible service from us - with the right help and support at the right time. 

"It's clear that if we invest now and increase the number of social work staff who work on the frontline and the number of managers to oversee best social work practice, this is exactly what we should be to do.

"Our main focus and priority is to do the very best we can for all children and young people in the city - so that all our children are happy, safe, and can succeed in their lives. It's the very least they deserve."

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