Council's £3m plan to improve Peterborough social care

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A council has advertised for 25 experienced social workers in a bid to improve its children's care record.

Peterborough City Council, whose children's services were assessed as poor by Ofsted in August, has allocated £3m to recruit and pay for new staff.

A spokeswoman for the Conservative-led council said it wanted to attract committed staff to bolster the team.

"There have been problems in the past, but it is absolutely key we get social care right for the city", she said.

The children's services department was assessed by Ofsted in nine categories last year, and found to be inadequate in seven of them, adequate in one and good in another.

It found serious deficiencies in the social care fieldwork service, resulting in too many children and young people being left without sufficient safeguards or adequate protection arrangements.

'In crisis'

The council has now launched a website to attract potential candidates for the social worker positions.

The 25 new staff will be in addition to the social care team currently in post.

Sheila Scott, cabinet member for children's services at the city council, said: "We are determined to make Peterborough one of the best children's services in the country.

"When most councils are cutting their investment in [the service], we have injected an additional £3m to recruit an additional 25 social workers."

Nick Sandford, leader of Peterborough Liberal Democrats agreed that the city's children's services had been "in crisis".

However, he said progress had been made following the introduction of an action plan implemented by its director Malcolm Newsam.

"It's good that they are putting money into that as it's critical the service offered is improved," he said.

Keith Sharp from the Independents said the investment was vital to strengthen both adult social care and the care of vulnerable children, and move the service forward.

"In the past it deteriorated and mistakes were made. We had ended up in an untenable situation," he said.

Fiona Radic from the Green Party said employing more senior staff within the service would help to "bring on and develop younger, less experienced staff".

"I welcome [the investment] very warmly and it's a good sign that the ongoing problems are starting to be addressed," she said.

The BBC has approached the UKIP and Labour groups for a comment.

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