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'Increasing demand' in children's social care as workers' caseloads spike

Posted on 24/07/2017 by

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CHILDREN’S social workers in Bradford have experienced a spike in their caseloads , with staff having on average an extra five cases compared to last year.

Bradford City Hall.

The workloads of the council employees who deal with some of Bradford’s most vulnerable children will be discussed at a meeting this week. A new report said there had been an “increasing demand” across social care over the last financial year, including a rise in referrals, assessments and an increase in the number of care proceedings.

The report, to be presented to the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, says one in six of the children who became “looked after” last year were from Central and Eastern European backgrounds.

And at one point in February, half of the looked after children in the district were not born in Bradford - they were either from “newly arrived communities” or families that had relocated to Bradford.

There were 187 Social Workers directly employed by the Council in March, compared to 211 in March 2016.

The report, by Di Drury, Interim Head of Service for Social Work, said a change had been made in December to the way average caseloads were calculated.

The report said social workers who had a so-called "zero caseload" – including those on maternity leave or long term sick leave – were now excluded from the figures.

"The decision was made because including workers who actually weren’t holding any cases was making the caseload average look lower than the true picture," the report stated.

“The average caseload per full time equivalent Social Worker is 17.6 cases, an increase from 12.9 in March 2016,” it added.

This compared to a national average of 16.1 cases per social worker.

The report continues: “The number of referrals received by Social Care Services has increased to about 540 per month over the last year, compared to about 460 per month for the year before. The number of assessments being undertaken by social workers is also high.”

It says that despite the pressures, there were still high numbers of people applying for jobs, and there were few vacancies.

The committee meets in City Hall at 4.30pm.

Chris Young  @ChrisY_TandA

Source: Thetelegraphandargus