Council contract won't be cancelled early despite 'serious problems' for social workers

The current recording system was criticised by Ofsted last year.
The current recording system was criticised by Ofsted last year.

Wakefield Council says it won't terminate a contract with the firm behind an IT system, on which the files of vulnerable children are kept, despite looking for another provider to store the records.

The local authority signed a five year deal with CareWorks Ltd in 2017 to run the electronic recording system for its children's services, but it is set to put another contract for the same job out to tender later this month.

The Cabinet is expected to approve a new tendering process at a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday.

The Cabinet is expected to approve a new tendering process at a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday.

Despite this, the council says it won't end its contract with CareWorks three years early, which would have cost around £2.5m, on top of the estimated £2m which is likely to be spent on hiring a new provider.

The recording system was heavily criticised by Ofsted when it placed the department in special measures last year.

The watchdog said that social workers were having serious problems using it and that "basic information" about youngsters in its care was not known as a result.

A Cabinet report due to go before senior councillors next week acknowledged case recording has "not been consistent", adding, "Historic records inform the understanding of accumulative harm and this raises the risk of children not being safeguarded."

The report suggests that the current programme, provided by CareWorks, will continue to be developed, while a separate recording system run by another firm works alongside it.

Vicky Schofield, the council's service director for children's social care said: "Discussions are taking place with CareWorks Ltd regarding the existing provision. There is no intention to terminate the contract."

The process of finding a new provider is subject to Cabinet approval on Tuesday.

Local Democracy Reporting Service