On Monday 10th November 2014 an action plan was approved by Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet which aims to bring about improvements to Children’s Social Care Services in the County.
Members also agreed to recommend to full County Council for the release of a further £1.64m from its general reserves to fund additional 2014/15 measures in the plan. The money is on top of the £4.8 million from the council’s reserves and the £1 million from its contingency funds.
The Improvement Plan has been developed in response to specific areas highlighted for improvement by Ofsted following its inspection earlier this year which judged the County’s Children’s Services and Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children’s Board to be inadequate overall.
Cabinet accepted the original plan at its meeting on October 20, but postponed its agreement, until all concerns raised by the Education, Skills and Children’s Social Services Select Committee – who conducted an in-depth enquiry of the plan were addressed.
Leader, Martin Tett said: ‘I think we’ve done a very robust job both as Cabinet and via the Select Committee in finalising a good but living document.
It is to the credit of this Cabinet and indeed this Council that we have taken good time to go through this paper to give it a really thorough analysis to look at areas where we believe changes and improvements needed to be made from the original paper presented to us.
The engagement we’ve had with our Select Committee colleagues who raised some really good points and for the team work we’ve displayed across all the political parties by putting children first and to make sure this is a really good plan, reflects the importance and the priority we attach to this particular area.‘
Mike Appleyard, Lead Member for Children’s Services said : ‘I’ve already witnessed an enormous amount of enthusiasm to move forward on this plan amongst the staff, senior staff and the Cabinet too.
I think the whole council is working very hard to ensure that we do achieve a ‘Good’ status as soon as we possibly can. It is very important to me to know that whatever we put in place is sustainable and on that basis I am not necessarily keen to just do it as quickly as possible – what I want to do is get it right.‘
Although officially approved today work has already begun on all six work streams of the plan and the Cabinet will continue to receive updates on the progress of this work on a regular basis.
An Improvement Board, made up of a mix of County Council and partner representatives will be set up to oversee delivery of the plan, and will receive monthly highlight reports setting out progress against key milestones, risks and issues.
The plan is now due to be submitted to Ofsted by 21st November 2014. To watch the meeting in full visit www.buckscc.public-i.tv/core/portal/home