Safety fears raised over office switch for Norfolk children’s services staff

Carrow House.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Carrow House.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Staff working in Norfolk County Council's children's services department have claimed a possible move to new offices could create risks for vulnerable children.

Bosses at County Hall are looking to sell Carrow House, in Norwich's King Street, as it is deemed 'surplus' to requirements.

Around 200 workers in the council's children's services department, which has twice been rated as 'inadequate' by watchdogs Ofsted in recent years, currently work there.

They have been told they could be moved into city centre office Vantage House, off St Giles Street.

But a petition has been started to urge council bosses to think again.

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A member of staff, who asked to remain anonymous, said a risk assessment of Vantage House had highlighted 'significant risks' with the move.

They said: 'Sometimes we have to take children away from their parents and, while there's car parking at Carrow House, there's none at Vantage House.

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'There's a suggestion that city car parks could be used, but are they expecting us to walk through the streets with extremely vulnerable and potentially upset children?'

Alison Birmingham, from UNISON, said: 'Unison have been against this from the start from the safety point of view and we have made senior managers aware.'

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said no decisions had been made. She said: 'Colleagues from our human resources, children's services and corporate property departments will work together to ensure an outcome will be based on a location that will meet the needs of both staff and those who use the service.'

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