Thurrock councillor in charge of care describes conditions as “challenging”

ADULTS and children’s services was summarised at last night’s Full Council meeting (Wednesday 25 October) by Portfolio Holder, Cllr Sue Little as “challenging but delivering”.

Cllr Little gave a detailed overview of areas affecting adults social care, including an ageing population, increasing complexity in cases, a competitive provider market and challenges in recruiting staff – particularly carers.

She went on to explain that the additional support from Government and the local agreement to increase council tax by 3% earlier this year had gone some way to helping support Thurrock’s older residents.

Cllr Little said: “Chief Social Worker, Lyn Romeo visited Thurrock in the summer and was so impressed with what she saw here in Thurrock she would like to feature us in her annual report for 2017/18.

“Thurrock is often named checked nationally as somewhere to watch in terms of innovation. We are not afraid to adopt new ways of working and developing ideas if there is a good case it can help residents – like our micro-enterprises.

Moving onto children’s social care, she explained: “I remain confident that the council is keeping children safe and has the commitment to continue moving the service in the right direction – protecting children and working with partners.

Key successes for the Cabinet member included working with neighbouring local authorities when unaccompanied asylum seeking children present themselves to the council.

Cllr Little said: “A year ago resources were being stretched supporting over 100 children – however, following new Home Office guidance, that number is being shared more fairly across other local authorities and our numbers have reduced by more than 60%.

“I’m pleased that my work with Thurrock Council and other boroughs has seen a formal transfer protocol adopted across local authorities.”

Other positive work taking place includes working closely with partners to continue raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation and Female Genital Mutilation as well as continuing to support and recruit foster carers.

Speaking about fostering and adoption, she said: “In 2016, 72% of children in care were placed out of borough but good progress is being made and this year I’m pleased to say this has reduced to 61%.

However, Cllr Little recognising that the journey is not easy finished by saying: “I am under no illusions that we are facing a tough agenda, but we will continue to explore new ways of working and encourage innovation in the workforce to rise to the challenges ahead.”

For more information on social care, including how to foster a Thurrock child, visit: Thurrock.gov.uk/fostering

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