£5.5m investment in Stoke’s children’s services

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has agreed recommendations to fund a £5.5 million redirection of cash to its children’s services.

Following an ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted earlier this year, the significant ‘investment in children’ will help finance the introduction of over 130 new posts in children’s services to ensure a strong focus on improving outcomes for the most vulnerable children in the city, including over 800 children who are within the care of the city council.

Alongside the children’s services consultation, other feedback from staff will see some minor amends to department structures. Once the recommendations have been put in place, it is expected that there will be a net reduction of 136 jobs and the deletion of 64 vacant posts. Additionally 138 new posts will be created in children’s services as the city council responds to the increased demand on this key statutory function.

Abi Brown, leader of the council, said: “We have been clear that ‘investing in children’ is our number one priority as a council, and I am pleased that colleagues have supported these proposals today, underlining this commitment. We have had to make some difficult decisions to find this investment, and have adapted our proposals in response to the comments we have received, ensuring we can make this commitment to the young people of our city. There are currently 892 children in care who look to us for support and we have to do what is right for them both now and for the future.

“We continue to focus on achieving improvement in our children’s services both through the recruitment of more social workers, but also in ensuring that every penny is well spent within the service. Today’s decision indicates that the city council recognises and understands the key messages within the Ofsted report, and our underlining commitment to addressing them. We are working hard with a number of partners to ensure that children remain at the centre of the city’s agenda both today and in future years.”