Drive to reduce agency staff in Northamptonshire's child social care gets extra help

Councillor Matthew Golby
Councillor Matthew Golby

Northamptonshire County Council is to get outside help in its bid to reduce the number of agency staff in social services.

The authority has one of the highest proportions of children's social care agency staff in the country at 43 percent of the overall department.

Ofsted said that despite "significant improvements" in the children's services after a previous critical report, there was still work to be done to create a more stable and competent workforce.

The county has now been approved to join a public sector mentoring project to look at ways to improve the retention of children's social workers as the department begins its transition into a children’s trust.

County council cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Matthew Golby said: “Our mission is to create a stable and able workforce that delivers the highest quality help and support to families across Northamptonshire.

“By establishing a children’s trust, we are confident that we can attract and retain committed, good-quality social workers as it will offer us the freedom to develop attractive recruitment packages, thereby reducing our reliance on costly agency workers.

“This development programme will enable us to further explore the recruitment and retention opportunities moving into a children’s trust can offer, while benefiting from the support of public sector experts.”

A spokesman for the authotiry said: "The Design in the Public Sector programme is delivered by Design Council and funded by the Local Government Association and is a 120-day programme involving peer-to-peer learning and intensive training and coaching.

"More than 40 projects across the UK have already received support through the programme.

"The creation of a children’s trust in Northamptonshire is part of the county council’s Next Generation Council model and will see a standalone trust commissioned by the council to deliver children’s services on its behalf," he added.