Children’s care shake-up at Nottingham city Council

A MOVE to create four new smaller children’s homes in Nottingham is set to save the city council £100,000 a year – mainly by making staff redundant.

Nottingham City Council has decided to close its five-bedroom children’s home in Top Valley and replace it with four new ones, each with spaces for two children.

The council feels the change will provide better care.

Coun David Mellen, portfolio holder for children’s services, said the Top Valley facility was “not a place that anyone could call home”.

He added: “It’s an institution – the way it was built and looks. There’s loads of locked doors which I don’t think is very positive.”

Ofsted has previously said a number of the council buildings for children in care, particularly the one in Top Valley, were not up to scratch.

Most of the £100,000 will be saved by making domestic and maintenance staff redundant.

Four empty buildings owned by Nottingham City Homes will be turned into the new homes. Three are in Lenton, one is in Sherwood and all four are set to be completed by September.

The council is aiming to cut £6m from its spending on children’s social care services.

Other money-saving methods include moving 40 young people aged 17 or over out of foster care or residential homes not run by the council, which can cost between £219 and £3,500 per person per week.

Most of them will either return home or go to live on their own.

But some will be moved into the new smaller facilities.

The council is planning to spend £165,000 to recruit four support workers, an assistant manager and an administrative assistant to manage the move, which is anticipated to save an average of £900 per week for each placement.

Paulette Thompson-Omenka, head of service for children in care, said: “We’ve taken a cohort of children aged 17 plus and some of those children should have already moved on into independence but they haven’t.

“Some of those 17 pluses are in very expensive places.

“We’ve had a look at the individual profiles and we’ve looked at how best to move those children into the next stage.”

There are 528 children in the city council’s care.