CHANGES to the way Torbay Council’s children’s service department works are aimed at making sure tragic cases of child neglect are not repeated, councillors were told today.
Richard Williams, director of children’s service, said he had attended the release of the serious case review in Birmingham on Thursday into the death of Keanu Williams.
Rebecca Shuttleworth was jailed for at least 18 years after being convicted of murdering the toddler who lived in Torbay for the first seven months of his life before moving to the Midlands.
Mr Williams said he did not want Torbay to find itself in the same position as Birmingham City Council and a lot of work was being done recruiting high quality social workers.
Speaking to a priorities and review panel, Mr Williams said there were lessons coming out of the Birmingham case that needed to be heeded to ‘make sure the mess that came out of the review yesterday is not repeated’.
He said social workers employed by the council were now doing an excellent job and just needed the tools and support to make them build on successes.
He said some of the problems in the past had been down to social workers from agencies being employed.
“We are now in a position where we have great social workers,” he said.
He described regular meetings with police, hospital, probation and other health managers aimed at sharing information.
Caroline Hobson, the council’s manager for fostering and adoption services, said the council was implementing a new strategy to help it save money while still providing a quality service.
She said it had cost the council £138,000 a year to find a placement for three children in Cornwall when no foster carers could be found in Torbay.
“In order to recruit new carers to increase the pool we want to move to a £400 a week flat rate,” she said.
She added that by rationalising the current complex pay system the council could save costs in the coming years and attract new foster families.