PLANS to transform children’s social care have been given the green light by the Isle of Wight Council.
The council cabinet this week agreed to adopt a new strategy, Reclaiming Social Work, in a bid to drive up standards and improve the authority’s 'adequate’ Ofsted rating.
Currently, the number of looked-after children is higher than in similar authorities, there is a high level of expensive mainland placements and staff sickness within the department cost the authority £250,000 during the last financial year.
Steps have been taken to improve services, including bringing social worker salaries in line with the regional average and, as a result, reducing vacancy rates from 40 to eight per cent.
Cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Dawn Cousins said she believed the new model, in which staff will work in small, multi-skilled units rather than individually, would improve performance.
"Child protection can be a harrowing task and we want to support our social workers. Reclaiming Social Work will give them the chance to do what they do best and make decisions which have, in the past, been hampered by bureaucracy," she said.
However, the overhaul will result in up to 14 job losses, which has sparked concerns among staff.
The model is set to be implemented by the end of this summer.