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Baby P reforms to cost £1 million

PUBLISHED: 11:54 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:37 25 August 2010

ONE million pounds is to be spent on changes to social care following recommendations sparked by the Baby Peter case. Bexley council wants to spend £980,000 on its work with vulnerable children this year on top of its planned budget £1.04 million.

ONE million pounds is to be spent on changes to social care following recommendations sparked by the Baby Peter case.

Bexley council wants to spend £980,000 on its work with vulnerable children this year on top of its planned budget £1.04 million.

The spending comes after Lord Laming's 58 recommendations in March last year for child protection services after the catastrophic Baby Peter case handled by Haringey social services.

Publicity surrounding the case of the 17-month-old toddler who died following months of child abuse has led to a surge in cases being reported to Bexley council. Social workers are still working on two cases involving the siblings of children who suffered unexplained deaths in Bexley.

The borough saw a 37 per cent increase in referrals to social services, a 55 per cent increase in children subject to a child protection plan and an eight per cent increase in the number of children in care, following the death of Baby Peter.

A report by Bexley council's social services reads: "The increased pressures in relation to safeguarding and child protection are considerable and are likely to continue for the foreseeable future."

Police now have a Public Protection Desk to coordinate referrals (called Merlins) to social care.

In January 2008 the council received 169 of these, whilst last year they rocketed to 280, with the current workload rising to 350.

Serious cases dealt with by the children's legal team were 74 in 2006-07, 127 for 2008-09 and 164 last year.

Bexley council is expected to create new jobs to cope with the increased workload.

The cabinet is due to decide on proposals next Monday.


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