Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent council jobs to go to fund children's services

Child generic
Image caption The number of children in care has increased to 982, about 200 more than neighbouring authorities, Tory leader Abi Brown said

Up to 200 jobs are to be axed by a council to free up money to invest in "inadequate" children's services.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the losses would allow it to redirect £5.5m to deal with the "pressures being faced" in the department.

The job are due to be met mainly through voluntary redundancies, as well as leaving 64 posts vacant.

Opposition Labour leader Mohammed Pervez said it was another example of the administration's "incompetence".

But council leader Abi Brown said it should make a huge difference for children.

In March, Ofsted found that vulnerable children were not being protected and rated the authority's services as inadequate.

Speaking after a meeting earlier Ms Brown said The Ofsted judgement on children's services was "absolutely unacceptable".

"We need, it's very clear, to make an investment into that area to ensure that we are able to raise standards," she said.

The council, run by a Conservatives-independents coalition, cares for a total of 982 children, about 200 more than neighbouring authorities, Ms Brown added.

Services 'in tatters'

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the GMB union said the cuts could put more pressure on other staff.

Part of the approved plans include the creation of more than 130 new jobs in children's services. A further 33 jobs have also been created in the council's street care and green spaces services.

But Mr Pervez said children's services had been left "in tatters" because of "the incompetence of the current administration".

"They have made people think they have to make these cuts to improve but, in reality, they could have made the savings in other ways," he said.

The council is already due to make £17m cuts in 2019-20 and says it has made a total of £194m in savings in the past eight years.

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