£5.5m funding proposals for ‘investment in children’
A public consultation has been launched on proposals to fund a £5.5m redirection of cash to children’s services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council. If approved, the proposals will allow the city council to prioritise significant ‘investment in children’ in the city now and in future years, following an ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted earlier this year. The council’s cabinet is making the proposals after seeing unprecedented demand for children’s social care services, with the number of children in care increasing to 890 in recent months at the same time as national funding has continued to fall and costs have continued to rise. This is the equivalent of 200 more children in care than similar-sized councils with the same social and economic profile.
The consultation, which is underway until 25 September, proposes a range of measures to allow the funding to be re-directed. They include:
- A review of council staffing including all back office support functions. This would see a net reduction of 248 jobs overall including 86 vacant posts. It is anticipated that most, if not all, posts would be through voluntary redundancy.
- Transformation of services with a view to delivering even more effectively and efficiently.
- Controls on all non-essential spending on areas such as recruitment and travel.
- Reviewing contracts and continuing to identify alternative funding sources and additional income.
- Review of landscaping maintenance.
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