The turnaround of the county’s ‘inadequate’ children’s service is costing Northamptonshire County Council more than £2 million, a council report has revealed.
The local authority has spent the money on more staff for the children’s department, which has contributed to an overspend of the service’s budget.
The report said: “The outturn for children’s services was a £3.7m overspend where £2.2m of this was attributable to the recruitment of agency and interim staff over and above established posts. This was part of the implementation of the children’s services improvement programme, which aimed to enhance the effectiveness of the service.”
A breakdown of the temporary staff costs showed £1.6 million was spent on a team manager role and senior practitioner and principal social worker roles, plus 21 other social workers roles.
The other £0.6m was spent on services such as the youth offending service, unaccompanied asylum seeking children service, and independent reviewing officers.
A council spokesman said the increase in staff was on the back of the ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating, but was also due to an increase in the number of children and families in need of support.
She added: “Going forward, by improving the early support available to families at the stage where concerns first emerge, and by working more closely with our partners to identify those families, we expect to see more stability in the costs of providing social care services.”
The Liberal Democrat group will today table a motion calling for all increases in children’s service funding, since the failings were spotted, to be made permanent.