Medway Council to spend extra £350k on children's social care

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An extra £350,000 will be spent on children's social care in part of Kent following a damning Ofsted report.

Ofsted inspectors rated Medway Council's child protection services inadequate and demanded immediate changes in last week's report.

The council said the cash would be spent on more social workers and a better system for those seeking help.

It would also be spent on a review of the child safeguarding board, it said.

The Ofsted report said "committed and hardworking" social workers faced challenges including high caseloads and systems that did not support effective practice.

Boost regeneration

Council chiefs apologised and vowed to make speedy improvements.

The Conservative-run authority also voted through a 1.99% rise in council tax from April at the budget meeting on Thursday.

A council spokesman said the rise equated to £1,141.47 per year for an average Band D home, a rise of 43p a week or £22.32 a year.

Opposition councillors have criticised the decision to cut £400,000 from a pot of money that helps Sure Start centres, and to reduce the public health budget by £300,000.

The authority is also dipping into its reserves by more than £5m to boost regeneration at Rochester Airport.

Nearly £250,000 will be spent tackling obesity and nearly £500,000 more will be spent on roads and pavements.

Some £30,000 will also be spent on an open-top tourist bus voiced by actor Brian Blessed.

Alan Jarrett, deputy leader of the council, said it would help encourage the "vast number of tourists who come to Medway" to stay in the area for longer.

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