£4.86m government grant will ‘revolutionise’ Hertfordshire social care

Councillor Richard Roberts, cabinet member for childrens' services

Councillor Richard Roberts, cabinet member for childrens' services - Credit: Archant

A £4.86 million grant – the biggest in the country – has been awarded to Herts County Council to revolutionise the way the authority deals with vulnerable families.

The money, the highest handout given to UK councils as part of the government’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, will be used in a bid to cut red tape and enable social workers to spend more time helping children considered to be at risk.

Staff will use electronic ?workbooks? to record and evidence assessments, which the county council hopes will eventually replace the current time-consuming system of case notes, chronologies and reports.

The grant will also see the extension of safeguarding teams which work to protect children across the county, with community psychiatric nurses and domestic abuse specialists trained in new ways of supporting families.

These teams will work alongside schools, children’s centres, health visitors, police and the voluntary sector.

“We are planning a completely new way of working for social workers, which represents a great hope for the future,” said Councillor Richard Roberts, responsible for children’s services at County Hall.

“Our pioneering new approach will cut down on red tape and free up our social workers to spend more time with families.

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“We will also be working closely with our partners to ensure vulnerable families get all the help they need, when they need it.

“This grant is the result of the hard work of staff and, crucially, our partners in health and the police, and reflects the government’s faith in our innovative plan to improve the health, education and wellbeing of more than 1,000 of our highest risk children and families.

“I am delighted we have this money to help us press ahead with our plans, which will give hundreds of children a better start in life.

“We hope it will become a model for other areas of the country to follow.”