Council to invest £6.5m in child 
protection staff

MPs will discuss cystic fibrosis drug during debate on Monday

Have your say

MORE child protection social workers are set for the region as part of a £6.5m investment from Hampshire County Council.

Up to 35 new front-line child protection social workers will be recruited by the authority through additional funding in social care budgets over the next two years.

The extra funding, which will be considered by councillors on Friday, has been proposed by Cllr Ken Thornber, leader of the county council.

The proposals include five new social work teams at a cost of £2.5m a year, and a further £4m added to the adult social care budget for the next two years.

The authority believes the new social work teams will help ensure the most vulnerable children in the area are kept safe and well supported.

It hopes the extra adult social care funding will support the council’s transformation of elderly care and the transition from traditional residential care to extra care – its £45m housing programme for older people to help the ageing population maintain independence and choice for longer and reduce the longer term care bill.

Cllr Thornber said: ‘What I’m proposing in this budget is at least £6m growth all aimed at the most vulnerable children, young people and our ageing population.

‘This is a result of the combined impact of this council’s early, decisive action to plan ahead for these difficult times, and the reserves we set aside to cushion Hampshire residents from the impact of the huge cuts in government grant that we all knew were coming.

‘It means that, rather than being forced to consider deep cuts into services to make the budget balance, we are in a position to add further protection to these front-line services that protect our most vulnerable residents.’

He is proposing an additional £200,000 a year from business rates will go towards improving Hampshire’s economy, and looks to freeze council tax for a fourth year running.

Cllr Thornber will also recommend a capital programme of more than £500m in services in 2013/14 to generate jobs and safeguard others, including £160m on road maintenance and transport infrastructure, and £165m on a programme to boost the number of school places in the county to meet rising birth rates and people moving into the county.

It also announced it will look to develop ways of transforming the way some services are delivered to make them more sustainable over two years.