Norfolk children’s social workers had some of the highest caseloads in England

Councillor James Joyce.

Councillor James Joyce. - Credit: Archant

Children's social workers in Norfolk had some of the highest workloads in England, according to government figures for 2013-14.

The data showed they were assigned an average of 24 children in need each, compared to an England average of 16.

Only 10 local authorities in England recorded a heavier workload.

However, Norfolk County Council said the situation had now improved, and the average was now 16.4.

The figures showed social workers in Suffolk had an average caseload of 12, while those in Cambridgeshire had 16.

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A 2013 Ofsted report which branded Norfolk County Council's child protection arrangements as 'inadequate' highlighted 'substantial variations in workloads within social work teams', which it said led to a 'negative impact on outcomes for children'.

James Joyce, chairman of the Children's Services Committee, said: 'The important issue is we have a very low vacancy rate and our turnover rate is in line with that seen nationally. Caseloads are now at an average of 16.4 and senior leaders receive weekly reports on caseload data to ensure that they are being managed correctly.

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'We are currently restructuring Children's Services to include more social work posts and ensure that we have the right staff in the right places to meet the needs of Norfolk's families. In addition, we are developing early help services so that fewer families need social care support and this is beginning to have an impact.'

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