Decision details

Children's Services Investment Proposals

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Consideration was given to a report of the Managing Director, Children and Young People, (DCS) which sought approval of the proposed investment into children’s services and the invest to save strategy aligned with it

In May 2022, Annual Council adopted the Administration’s priorities for 2022/23. One priority area for the Council was to have a relentless focus on children and young people to ensure that they enjoy a happy, healthy and safe childhood. In September 2022, the Council further declared children and young people to be its number one priority, underpinning the organisation’s new five-year corporate plan. 

 As part of this focus the Council’s Children’s Social Care and Early Help services had embarked upon a challenging “Getting to Good” programme that would see the Council improve the quality of its vital social work and safeguarding services and the experiences and outcomes of those in need of them.  

 To support both our overall priority for children and young people and the continuous improvement of our existing services the Council was proposing a significant investment into services that support and safeguard children, young people, and their families.   

The proposal Cabinet was being asked to approve was to invest £14.7 million into vital children’s social care and family support services in the borough. This investment would;  

  • Provide better support for families, at an earlier stage, to avoid the need for social care involvement, including:  
    • The targeting of £3 million of external funding to provide a greater range of services, support and activities at key children’s centres  
    • The targeting of £2.7 million of external funding to target support for families currently struggling and needing less intensive support 
    • Extra work with schools, colleges and with voluntary, community and faith organisation’s to improve the amount and level of support available for families in local communities 
  • Provide the very best care for Oldham’s most vulnerable children and young people by:  
    • Investing in additional capacity in the teams assessing and making-decisions on vulnerable children and young people’s care and support needs 
    • Increasing the teams, supporting fostering and special guardianship orders so that more children and young people have a home within a family setting 
    • Increasing the amount of move-on accommodation available in Oldham to support those young people ready to leave care to live independently 
    • Establishing a scheme to provide deposits and first month’s rent and/or acting as guarantors for young people ready to move into independent accommodation and housing 
    • Establishing a new council-run children’s home for local children and young people with learning disabilities so fewer children need to be cared for outside of the borough 


  • Make Oldham one of the best places to be a social worker by:  
    • Recruiting 50 more permanent social workers to ensure manageable caseloads and reduce the need for agency social workers as much as possible 
    • Recruiting 17 new Social Work Support Officers to free up social workers for more time with children and families 
    • Reviewing current pay and conditions for children’s social work staff to ensure the Council was able to attract and retain the most talented social workers 
  • Recognise, reward and better support Oldham’s Foster Carers by; 
    • Increasing allowances and skills payments by 10% 
    • Recruiting five highly trained specialist foster carers to offer additional training, support and advice to foster carers across the borough – focusing on supporting those who care for some of the most vulnerable children and young people to help them remain in foster care.

Options/alternatives considered

Option 1 – Approve the investment as detailed within the report which aimed to improve services for children, young people and families and to support quality social work and reward foster carers.

Option 2 – Not to invest in the service as detailed within the report. This would removed the ability to tackle rising demand for support leading to spiralling costs to deliver quality children’s services.



1.    The proposed investment into children’s services and the invest to save strategy aligned with it as detailed within the report be approved.

2.    The decisions resulting from the implementation of the invest to save strategy be delegated to the Managing Director of Children’s Services and the Director of Legal Services.

Publication date: 19/12/2022

Date of decision: 12/12/2022

Decided at meeting: 12/12/2022 - Cabinet

Effective from: 21/12/2022

Accompanying Documents: