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Council Cabinet approves £2 million-plus of new, children’s social care roles

Councillors at today’s Sefton Council Cabinet meeting have approved more than £2 million to fund new roles in its Children’s Social Care Department.

This investment in staff is in addition to an extra £7 million, Sefton Council committed to children’s social care in its budget earlier this year.

Demand

Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We are currently facing very high levels of demand for our children’s social care services and this has been intensified by the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit some parts of Sefton particularly hard.

“Today’s agreement of an extra £2 million of additional investment in new roles over the coming two years will be key to enabling us to make further improvements to children’s social care in Sefton and represents the latest step in our improvement journey following an OFSTED visit earlier in 2021.”

Since March this year, Sefton Council has appointed a number of additional staff to its Children’s Social Care service have been recruited and has established a transformation team support by the Department for Education (DfE).

Improvements

Cllr Doyle added: “We acknowledged the issues and challenges raised through the OFSTED inspection and immediately started work to make the improvements needed to address them.

“We have already put in place a new interim Executive Director of Children’s Social Care and Education to ensure the service’s management is focused and to drive the development work.

“Our Children’s Social Care staff are committed and skilled but are facing levels of demand unlike anything we’ve known before. We are working to support them in providing the high-quality, responsive service that families, children and young people across Sefton have every right to expect and which we are committed to delivering.”

“I am confident that recruitment these new posts agreed today combined with the valuable support being provided by the Department of Education, will enable us to achieve that commitment.”

You can find out more about Sefton Council services for children and young people here.

Council encourages people to set sail on a new challenge and foster for Sefton

It was “ship ahoy!” for Sefton’s Fostering Team and foster carers this week as they took a voyage of discovery for

people thinking about taking up fostering.

Setting sail on the ‘Pride of Sefton’ canal boat, the group headed from the Titanic and into the Albert Dock, to raise awareness about fostering and the need for local people to give loving homes to children in Sefton.

The Pride of Sefton is a community focused wide beam canal boat, operated by Sovini Charities, which provides opportunities for passengers to discover Liverpool’s rich heritage by sailing through its hidden waterways.

Among those on board were Angela and Paul, who have fostered with Sefton Council for three years. They joined the crew to help to spread the important message about the rewarding role of fostering.

Angela said: “Fostering has been one of the best things we have ever done. We have three children of our own and we both work full time and our foster children really become part of our family life.

Paul went on to say: “Its just so rewarding and for some people you will never feel that it’s the right time, but you just have to find out more and you will never look back”

Sailing along Merseyside’s waterways, Joan who also fosters for Sefton said:

“My partner Mike wasn’t sure at first but after chatting we decided to go for it and ten years later, we are still enjoying every minute.

“This is why we’ve come today to help Sefton to try and encourage more people to foster for the Council because there are children out there who really need the care and support we can provide.”

Helen Collins, who works with Sefton Fostering’s Recruitment and Support team said:

“Coming out on beautiful days like this not only brings Sefton’s fostering family closer, but also allows us to speak to people face to face, share experiences, and let them know how much they can make a difference to the lives of young people.

“Thank you to Sovini and ‘The Pride of Sefton’ crew who never fail to give us an amazing trip and help us spread the word in a fun way.”

Sefton’s Foster Carers receive full training and support, plus payments for their skills and allowances. Anyone who is thinking about fostering should get in touch by speak to one of the team on our freephone number 0800 923 2777 to find out more.

People can also find out more on our dedicated website https://seftonfostering.co.uk/ 

Sefton Council’s Cabinet asked to approve £2 million-plus of new roles

Sefton Council’s Children’s Social Care department looks set to receive over £2 million worth of new roles over the next two years if approved at the Council’s Cabinet meeting next week (Thursday 2nd September) and supported by the financial strategy for 2022/23. The £2 million due to be spent on extra staff forms part of the £7 million investment approved by Full Council earlier this year.

Additional investment

The additional investment into Children’s Social Care is to improve the service and help deal with the unprecedented increase in demand, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is an additional step on Sefton’s Children’s Services’ improvement journey following an OFSTED visit in March 2021 which highlighted areas in need of improvement. Since March, a number of additional staff have been recruited, bolstered by a transformation team and support from the Department for Education.

Committed and skilled

Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We have a committed and skilled workforce, dedicated to working on behalf of our children and I can assure families, children and young people across Sefton that we are determined to deliver to them the high-quality, responsive service they rightly expect and deserve from us.

“But the level of demand for our services is unlike anything we’ve known before, and with additional pressures from Covid-19, we recognise that improvements need to be made to Children’s Services in Sefton.

“We acknowledge the issues and challenges that OFSTED raised, and are committed to facing these head on. I am confident that the recruitment of these new posts to the Children’s Social Care team, in addition to external support from the Department of Education, will help ensure we make the improvements necessary to achieve better outcomes for children and families, and quickly. We need to make immediate improvements, and our existing staff need to see immediate relief in capacity and positive outcomes.

“We are aware of the need to focus on the management of the service and already have a new interim executive director of children’s social care and education and transformation team in place to drive the improvements.”

You can find the agenda and papers for the meeting here.

Sefton’s simplified online renewals services for taxi driver & vehicle licencing remains in place

A queue of taxi cabs waiting for customersSefton’s taxi drivers are being reminded that despite the relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions, vehicle licence renewals are still being processed through a simple e-mail service.

Ten-day turnaround

We aim for a turnaround of ten working days for the renewal of vehicle licences with a high proportion being processed more quickly. We ask that as much information regarding vehicle renewals is included within the subject line of the e-mail enabling us to prioritise our workload.   

Driver licences continue to be considered for auto renewal for a period of six months. A number of licence holders will be invited in for interview if a new DBS check is required, Immigration status check is required, a Medical check is required or there are pending criminal matters.

Target

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Councils Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “Since the start of the COVID pandemic, to ensure the safety of drivers and its own staff, the Council has been carrying out online renewals rather than the drop-in system at Bootle One Stop Shop.

“Infection rates show that the coronavirus is still very much with us, so the online process remains in place for now.

“We have a 10-working-day-target for the process and the majority of applications are being done more quickly.

“And, owners can apply for renewal of their plate 28 days before their current one expires so there should be no reason why anyone should be without a plate.”

To renew, all drivers need to do is email a copy of their Mechanical Fitness Test, which they get from one of the Council’s authorised testing centres to taxiapplication@sefton.gov.uk. Their application needs to be accompanied by an image of their application form, their V5 Registration certificate and evidence of insurance.

The Council then collects the fee from the driver over the telephone and the renewal certificate is sent to them.

Safety

Cllr Lappin added: “As with many of our services, Sefton Council quickly adapted the way we managed taxi vehicle and driver licence renewals to ensure the safety of drivers and our own staff.

“This has mean that the popular drop-in service that took a few minutes, which drivers had got used to now takes a little longer but with a 28-day lead-in time for renewals, no-one need miss the deadline.

Since taking renewals online to prevent the chance of COVID-19 spreading, between drivers, with Council staff and with taxi users, Sefton has processed around 9500 renewals.

Cllr Lappin continued:

“Inevitably taxi drivers in Sefton have had to get used to a change from the drop-in, face-to-face process they have been accustomed to but the vast majority of them have adapted and have been using the system without any problems.

Find out more about the application process on the Sefton Council website.

Grants

During the pandemic, Sefton Council has distributed close to £1,000,000 in grant funding through two sets grants to support taxi drivers who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 4,000 taxi drivers licensed in Sefton, and who live in the Liverpool City Region, were eligible for an initial £100 support grant followed up by a further £200 support grant.

Swab squad – latest!

Swab Squad
Swab Squad

Our Swab Squads are out at Sefton’s rail stations and other venues over the coming week, providing free, rapid COVID tests, information and advice.

Operating from 08:30am – 04:30pm:

  • Monday 23rd August – Aintree station
  • Tuesday 24th  Augutst – Blundellsands station
  • Wednesday 25th August – Asda Aintree
  • Thursday 26th August – Blundellsands station
  • Friday 27th August – Asda Aintree
  • Saturday 28th August- Blundellsands station

Mobile testing units are also deployed at locations across the Borough.

 

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