Birmingham council is promising a “relentless focus on recruitment and retention” as part of its improvement plan.
The troubled council, which has been rated inadequate by Ofsted since 2008, published its 2015-17 improvement plan for early help and children’s social care this week.
This is part of the council’s three year improvement journey, which began in 2014.
A further £21.5m of funding has been made available in children’s services for 2015-16 to help the council continue progress made so far.
The council hopes to have over 500 full time equivalent social workers, senior social workers and team managers in post by March 2017, compared to the 354 in post in January 2015.
High performing social work teams
Council leadership will focus on developing high performing social work teams to help drive improvement and keeping workloads manageable for frontline staff.
To better protect children, the council wants to create a “culture of learning and accountability” within social work. This would include: “High support and high expectation through leadership and challenge and freeing up practitioners to do more direct work with children and families,” the plan said.
The council also set itself the target of reducing the number of children in care by March 2016 through better work with families and improved care planning. It will also improve support and access to further education and work for care leavers.
Since the improvement journey began, the council has taken a third more referrals for children needing help, which it says is a result of its better work with partners.
The length of children in care proceedings had fallen by 26 weeks in December 2014, compared to the 2011-14 average of 54 weeks.