Thursday 31 October 2013

Brent Council to separate Children's and Adult's Social Care

In March this year I spoke to the Brent Council General Purposes Committee about the proposed restructuring of departments and in particular voiced concern about  the proposal to put Children's Social Care and Adult Social Care along with Education and Health  under one Director. LINK  It would create a department where there was a risk of high profile failures regarding vulnerable adults and children. In the wake of tragedies involving the death of children and adults it was essential to have clear lines of responsibility on safeguarding.

The General Purposes Committee on November 7th will receive a report recommending separating the roles:
It was agreed that during August and September, Gatenby Sanderson (recuitment agency) would continue in their search for suitable candidates for the post of Strategic Director, Education, Health and Social Care. However, this has not proved successful. Many candidates considered the role too large and though a couple of experienced candidates were interested, we could not match their expectations in terms of salary. Director posts involving children’s social care are perceived as high risk in local government and remain the most difficult job to fill. As Ofsted’s recent Annual Report on social care indicates, there is considerable volatility in leadership and ‘one in three local authorities has had a change in their director of children’s services last year alone’. (Ofsted, 2013)

The General Purposes Committee is asked to agree to the revised structure as follows:
a. deletion of the posts of Strategic Direcor, Governance and Corporate Services and Strategic Director Education, Health and Social Care
b. deletion of the posts of Strategic Director, Adult Social Care
c. establishment of the new post of Strategic Director, Adults
d. establishment of new post of Strategic Director, Children and Young People
I welcome this move as establishing clearer and more manageable responsibilities and thus establishing a more robust safeguarding of vulnerable children and adults.

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