Issue - meetings

Children’s Social Care - Managed Teams

Meeting: 13/12/2023 - Cabinet (Item 96)

96 Extension of contract for Childrens Safeguarding Equinox Project Team pdf icon PDF 349 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People is attached.


The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People presented a report seeking approval for an extension of the Equinox Project Team, currently commissioned to support core statutory safeguarding services, to enable Bury Council to protect vulnerable children and young people from harm, in accordance of the principles outlined within the CA 1989.


Responding to a question from Councillor Bernstein, the Cabinet Member reported that social work recruitment is a primary focus for herself and the department and is frequently discussed at the Children’s Improvement Board.  In addition to international recruitment, work has been undertaken to “grow your own” and a number of agency staff have been converted into permanent staff




Cabinet Approves the extension of the Equinox Project Team until 31st March 2024.


Reasons for recommendation(s)


If the project team is not extended this will significantly impact upon the council’s ability to carry out its statutory functions in order to keep children and young people safe from harm. It would be better for the project team to be reduced in a gradual and managed way to reduce the impact of the service losing a full team of very experienced child protection social workers who are currently holding 140 cases. The sudden exit of the team would result in these cases having to be absorbed within the 4 Family Safeguarding Teams which are insufficiently staffed at present.


Alternative options considered and rejected


Other options have been considered such as exiting the project team more imminently and back filling these positions with agency social workers. Currently, the number of agency applications has reduced and there is insufficient availability to back fill the project team.


It is also important to note that the project team have been in place since January 2022 and have gained vast experience and knowledge in relation to Bury and its children. The loss of these Social Workers would impact on the children and families opened to the service. It is also important to ensure good transition of families is in place. The project team will reduce from 6 to 4 social workers by the end of January, 4 to 2 SW’s in February and the final 2 leaving by the end of March.