Decision Maker: Director of Learning, Opportunities and Skills
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
ODR 2122001 approved the planned spend of
£2,975,000 for additional Social Care Support grant, which is
delegated to the Director of Learning, Opportunities and Skills and
Assistant Director of Finance (Section 151) in consultation with
the Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Skills. The
planned spend included up to £795,000 to Doncaster
Children’s Services Trust (DCST) for additional Social
Workers during 2021/22. ODR 2123023 approved that £167,000 of
the £795,000 was reallocated to additional staffing capacity
and resource required to support a targeted follow up of
safeguarding concerns raised regarding a provider across
Children’s and Adult Services in the Borough; leaving a
revised allocation of £628,000.
Following the Contract Meeting between Doncaster Council and Doncaster Children’s Services Trust on 22nd July 2021 the Trust was asked to provide a position statement on current staffing to evidence the need for additional funds. Originally the additional funds were identified for additional social workers capacity but the Trust asked the Council to consider that a broader view should be applied that additional workload pressures have also affected IROs, Legal, business support, amongst others. Additionally there has been a need to increase agency social worker pay. Subsequently Doncaster Children’s Services Trust submitted a business case to Doncaster Council requesting funding of up to £510,000 for the following pressures due to increased caseloads:
IROs/CP Chairs £100,000
The Trust’s MTFS for 2021/22 included a £100k saving within this Service but this will now not be achieved in 2021/22 due to caseload demand. The caseloads for IROs have increased from March 2020 to date by 65 – according to the IRO handbook they should carry cases of 50-70, which equates to 1.6 FTE posts that need to be retained within
Safeguarding and therefore require funding.
Legal Services £106,000
Since March 2020 the number of section 31 Care and PLO cases have increased by 75. Senior Legal Officers should carry cases of c.16 and the Trust has increased SLO by
0.8fte meaning cases over capacity is 54 – c. 3.2fte. The actual additional staffing is for 2.8fte: 1.0fte LO locum (10 months) + 2.0fte SLO locum (full year). The overall additional
cost is reduced due to utilising the release of a balance sheet accrual of £50,000 (judicial process complete) and £104,000 Covid funding already received from the Council.
These agency staff (all in post) will continue to be monitored and released when caseloads allow.
Administration increase £75,000
The additional caseload and CIC numbers creates pressures and a need for additional administration support. This includes team business support as well as, for example, HR support to recruit and manage the HR processes. Therefore this funding will be utilised to increase administrative support for Teams and HR temporarily although the vast majority will be used to support the Social Work Teams. This provides funding for 7 x G7 agency for 4-4.5 months, including the agency premium.
Agency rate increase £95,000
Neighbouring authorities are paying agency social workers £38-£40 per hour compared to the Trust’s hourly rate of £32 - £35 per hour leading to some workers leaving the Trust.
To retain staff and remain competitive in the market the Trust has increased its hourly rate to £38 per hour. The additional funding will provide for 17 agency social workers uplifted to £38 per hour for 8 months.
Assessments Project Team (Team 5) £134,000
To relieve the pressure on the Front Door an additional project team has been put in place for 12 weeks as team 5. This has enabled the Trust to have 4 full teams and the
5th team as the additional resource/project team which will allow the Trust to:
- Explore the issue of increased pressure on the Front Door further
- Understand the demand and if this can be met by 4 teams (with a 5th team supporting
with the current demand and high caseloads)
- 5th team will pick up cases each week when a team can’t take anymore – this will give the Trust a better picture of the allocation process and duty process.
This will allow the Trust to understand this further and consider what issues might be present and better understand how we prevent this being a re-occurring issue.
The business case requesting funding totalling up to £510,000 was approved by the Director of Learning, Opportunities and Skills and Assistant Director of Finance (Section 151).
To approve costs of up to £510,000 for
additional Doncaster Children’s Services Trust caseload
pressures to be funded from the £2,975,000 Social Care
Support Grant delegated to the Director of Learning, Opportunities
and Skills and Assistant Director of Finance (Section 151) in
consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People
The increased caseloads and CIC numbers have
resulted in additional budgetary pressures which require adequately
funding. The levels of funding and interventions have been
considered, resulting in the proposals outlined in this decision
record. The option of not providing adequate funding for the
pressures has been rejected.
Publication date: 20/01/2022
Date of decision: 13/01/2022