Surrey Council, which is bucking the trend among England’s councils by merging its adults’ and children’s services, is to recruit 40 children’s social workers as a result of the restructure.
The council split the services in 2001 but is reintegrating them as other local authorities do the opposite.
It said the new posts were part of a drive to increase the number of front-line social workers after the number of managerial and back office positions was reduced. The council has already announced plans to appoint 120 new adults’ services socialworkers.
The moves come after the council made 222 people redundant under the restructuring, which includes the merger of education with children’s social care and adults’ services into a families directorate. The redundancies were mainly among support staff, including those in adults’ and children’s services.
Some adults’ services managers also lost their jobs but took up new positions elsewhere in the council. Andrew Webster, Surrey’s strategic director of services for families, said the restructuring would improve services and save the authority £239m over the next five years.
Webster said there were many factors behind the changes other than cost-cutting, such as supporting Surrey’s ageing opulation.
He said the council was investing an extra £3.6m in adult social care this year and £4.7m in each of the next five years so that more people could remain in their own homes.
“It’s a much more integrated service that will enable more people to have more options,” he said. The families directorate became fully operational last month and Webster said he expected other councils to follow the same route.
“We are already having conversations about how we are supporting people across the age range,” he said.
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