BLACKBURN with Darwen Council is to recruit more social workers in the wake of an Ofsted report saying the council’s children’s services department is facing huge workloads and pressure.

The report, published last week, says inexperienced social workers are being asked to deal with cases beyond their capabilities.

But department director Jayne Ivory said plans were in place to recruit in a bid to ease the pressure on staff.

And she added she was looking at ways to improve staff retention.

"The council, senior officers and members are doing absolutely everything in their power to improve services for children.

"With regards to resources and workforce, the department has had some additional investment recently so we are going to recruit more social workers.

"The biggest challenge is retaining our social workers and we have more work to do on that front."

Ofsted inspectors carried out a focused visit of the council’s children’s services department last month.

Inspectors looked at a range of evidence, including case discussions with social workers and parents and carers, and meetings with managers.

They also looked at local authority performance management and quality assurance information and children’s case records.

They found the quality of the service on the whole was at the same level as the last full inspection in October last year, when the department was deemed good.

Since then, some improvements have been made, including more regular assessments and closer monitoring, as well as the introduction of a family group conference service.

But it was also found workloads were increasing and newly qualified social workers were being asked to take on tasks beyond their experience.