THE COUNCIL is falling behind against its target to re-visit children on protection plans within ten days of a previous visit.

A new report outlined that two in five meetings do not take place ten days after the previous assessment compared to a target of one in five.

While this is an improvement on previous figures, the percentage has been more than ten per cent below target for the last six months and the council has failed to reach its goal for the last seven quarters.

Bracknell News: Stats show the council has not mets it targets for the past seven quartersStats show the council has not mets it targets for the past seven quarters

Labour councillor Andy Croy said: “There is clearly a problem here. There are two years of this, it doesn’t go up and down.”

He added later in the meeting: “I don’t know if something very horrible is going to happen soon.”

Cllr Shahid Younis said the reason the council was failing to reach its targets was because of the high number of temporary workers the council has in its children’s services department.

He said: “This is one area every authority has problems with. Social care workers, retaining and recruiting them, there is a huge competition across our neighbouring boroughs as well. It’s a continuous challenge.”

Last week The News reported that the council is set to spend more than £1.1m on recruiting social workers in children’s services in the coming year.

But the most recent figures showed the turnover of qualified social workers employed in children’s services had increased again, rising to 30 per cent by December 2018, a rise from 24 per cent six months prior.

Councillor Ken Miall, who chairs the council’s children’s services overview and scrutiny committee, said the targets for the child protection meetings measure were eight years out of date after the council had overachieved with meeting these criteria.

He suggested that the target level could be moved down again, but Cllr Croy said: “I don’t think we should change the target just because we have not got it.

“We should be making sure that somebody is responsible for this. We are the people who need to be holding this to account.”

Conservative Cllr Guy Grandison also raised fears about another table documented in a council progress report which highlighted WBC was also below its target for meeting the percentage of infants receiving an 8-week review.

Councillors debated what the management overview and scrutiny committee could do to challenge the “deterioration” in these measures after Conservative Cllr Mike Haines agreed with Cllr Croy that “something ought to be done”.

Chairman of the committee, Conservative Councillor Phillip Houldsworth, suggested a “special session” in which the director of children’s services would come to explain the measures to the committee.

But members agreed to send a letter from the committee to the department instead, asking for explanations on the trends.

The committee met on Wednesday, February 21.