'Shortcuts' cannot be taken with vulnerable children NSPCC warns as Northamptonshire County Council prepares cuts package

The NSPCC has warned the county council not to take 'shortcuts' when it comes to children's services.
The NSPCC has warned the county council not to take 'shortcuts' when it comes to children's services.

A national charity says shortcuts cannot be taken in safeguarding young people as Northamptonshire County Council prepares to make cuts to services for vulnerable children.

Though no firm savings have been announced by the authority yet, signs currently point to the council-run children's services bearing a large brunt of the £70 million of savings the council will have to make this financial year.

At an audit meeting last week, chief finance officer Mark McLaughlin announced that children's services would likely be the "biggest loser" in the savings measures.

Proposals to the crunch extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday also talked of only providing for children who have suffered "significant harm".

Yesterday details in a council action plan to meet the £70 million savings target said directors would be "looking at factors for high spending on high numbers of referrals and high numbers in the care system".

An NSPCC spokesman for the East of England says the signs are worrying for children in vulnerable situations in the county, some of whom have suffered abuse at the hands of parents.

He said: “The protection and safeguarding of children in Northamptonshire must always be an absolute priority. And the continued threat of significant cuts to the council’s children’s services department is of significant concern.

“Shortcuts cannot be taken in safeguarding and there is an urgent need for a plan detailing how the council are going to prioritise vulnerable children.

“It is vital that early intervention part of this plan to target the needs of children at risk before issues escalate and families reach crisis point.”