More social workers have been hired in the wake of a damning Ofsted report for Wigan Council
Children’s Services at Wigan Council are no longer overly reliant on agency staff after a successful period of recruitment, a meeting heard.
Following an Ofsted report in July 2022 slamming the authoriry-run service, the team has reported to have been working hard on an action plan to improve its system.
Last year council bosses put the Requires Improvement Ofsted rating down to “underfunding and staffing shortages” – with the latter looking a lot healthier after a net gain of 25 new full-time staff members, the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee was told.
Sandie Hayes, practice director, told Wigan Town Hall’s council chamber how a net gain of 25 new staff members was in stark contrast to the loss of just over 30 workers the year before.
“By March we will be 78 per cent permanent staff with the rest being agency,” she informed Coun Janice Sharratt when quizzed on how many permanent staff members there are now.
The total number currently sits at 87 social workers, in addition to other roles in the Children’s Services team. When the Ofsted inspectors reviewed the council system last year, response times were key concerns – which the council suggested was due to staffing shortages.
Response to domestic abuse concerns being “not sufficiently robust” and child-protection plans not being specific enough were highlighted by inspectors back in May.
The report, published in July, also suggested that assessments of the "immediate risk of harm” to children was ‘not as quick as it could be’.
However it did go on to say that it was mostly recognised well and responded to promptly.