Rotherham council has been awarded £5.2 million in additional funding to help tackle the “unique pressures” it faces.
The extra funding, awarded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), will “work to address the weaknesses in our children’s services at a time when the council’s overall budget is again being reduced”, said council leader Chris Read.
He added: “The funding will overwhelmingly be spent on managing the extra costs we face at the moment in keeping children safe – more social workers with lower caseloads, and reform of the service. It’s a vote of confidence in the measures we are taking to improve services.”
The funding was awarded after commissioners, who have run Rotherham council since a damning report by Louise Casey about the council’s management was published last year, made a successful business case to the department.
A spokesperson for the DCLG said the money would also help improve the council’s corporate functions, and the running of its adult social care services.
“The commissioners in Rotherham are making real progress, working hard to turn the council and its children’s services around so they regain the trust of the local community.”
The spokesperson added: “We recognise there are challenges ahead and continue to support Sir Derek Myers (lead commissioner for Rotherham council), the rest of the commissioner team and the council, with a £5 million grant to deliver real change in the council and ensure the effective running of its services.”
Mick Stowe, secretary of Rotherham’s Unison branch, said the money would be welcomed to help address issues in the area, particularly around child sexual exploitation.
“We need to recruit more social workers, but it’s not just social work that needs to be reinforced, there are other mechanisms to support young people who might not be on the radar of the social workers,” Stowe said.
A council spokesperson clarified that 30 job losses in children’s services, also announced just before Christmas, would not impact on children’s social care.