Extra staff to help bail out social care

THE council is seeking 10 permanent staff to bolster the crisis-stricken children’s social care department.

But service director Janet Donaldson remains suspended and the council is still without a permanent head of children’s social care.

Advertising has begun to try to recruit an interim service manager on a salary of £40-£45 an hour.

In addition, six children and family social workers are required on up to £25 an hour, a social worker for children with disabilities, an adoption social worker and another qualified social worker.

One of the aims is to reduce Calderdale Council’s on-going reliance on agency staff.

The latest review of services by child-protection experts shows that children are safer in Calderdale than they used to be but there is no room for complacency.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for children’s social care, Coun Megan Swift, said: “The results are encouraging. The inspectors also recognised the enormous amount of hard work that officers have put in to turn things around”.

Before she was suspended, Ms Donaldson said the council was working hard with its partners and steadily improving services to the most vulnerable children.

“There is still a long way to go and the group have given us helpful feedback on where we need to focus our efforts to secure further improvements,” she said.

Ofsted’s annual assessment of children’s services earlier this month shows that they continue to perform poorly.

As a result, councillors have set up an inquiry into the state of children’s services and what appears to have gone wrong.

It is expected to deliver its report to council leaders in January.