Wakefield Council social worker staff boost plans

A NEW social work team could be set up to meet increased demand for services at Wakefield Council. The council cabinet agreed to consider a bid to the authority’s budget for more staffing on Tuesday as they discussed a report that showed overstretched social workers are struggling to cope with increased workloads since the Baby P case.

Cabinet reports say the establishment of the “Peripatetic Social Work Team” with more than eight staff and other resources as well as the appointment of an independent chairman to the Local Safeguarding Children Board would cost £321,679.

An action plan to meet recommendations made in Lord Laming’s national report into child protection after 17-month-old Peter Connelly died of horrific injuries, causing widespread outrage, in 2007 was also discussed at the meeting.

The report – which was deferred for the action plan to be compiled – said a total of 338 initial child protection case conferences were held by the authority in 2008-09, compared with 273 the previous year.

Some services were operating at capacity with ‘significant risks to the local authority if high rates of referrals continue’. About half of the cases referred concerned child protection.