724 children’s services jobs at risk in Worcestershire

MORE than 700 council employees have been told their jobs are at risk due to cuts in Government funding.

Letters were sent out to 549 permanent staff at Worcestershire County Council children’s services and a further 175 people on fixed-term contracts, who will have their positions reviewed following cuts to specific grants in their area of work.

Conservative councillor Marcus Hart, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for children and young people 0 to 11 years, said the risk of redundancy has hit children’s services employees across the county so it was impossible at this stage to judge how many staff in Wyre Forest will lose their jobs. He said it is also not yet known how the delivery of children’s services in the district will suffer.

He added: “This doesn’t mean to say we will be making all 724 staff redundant. Children’s safeguarding will not be affected – in actual fact we will be spending more money in that area.”

Conservative councillor Liz Eyre, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for children’s social care and lead member for children’s services, said: “The council has always been clear that where funding from Government ceases, that particular activity needs to also stop. This also applies to reduced grants as it will also impact the level of activity.”

She explained safeguarding remains the highest priority for children’s services and the funding settlement does not affect the improvement work taking place following Ofsted’s recent inspections.

She added: “We would like to stress that placing a position at risk is a statutory process in order to manage restructuring as efficiently and effectively as possible and does not necessarily mean it will be made redundant.

“We remain committed to minimising compulsory redundancies, wherever possible although this will not be possible in every case. We will continue to regularly update staff who are affected at the earliest opportunity as well as providing them with ongoing advice and support.”