Children’s social care in Oldham is set to get a cash boost of £14.7 million in a bid to retain and recruit staff amid a national shortage that is leaving vulnerable children at risk.

The borough, like the rest of the country, faces a shortfall of social workers, with dozens in the borough quitting last year.

Data from the Department for Education shows 30 full-time social workers in Oldham left their jobs last year. Of those who left, 22 had been in their job for fewer than five years, and 12 for under two years.

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has said social workers are quitting across the country amid unmanageable caseloads and deteriorating working conditions and the education watchdog Ofsted has previously warned that vulnerable children are going without vital support because there are not enough social workers or appropriate homes to meet their needs.

Today (Wednesday) Oldham Council leader Amanda Chadderton has unveiled plans for a new raft of support and investment for the borough’s children’s social care services that is set to be approved by the cabinet on Monday, December 12.

The investment will enable the council to recruit 50 extra social workers and increase allowances for foster carers by an additional 10 per cent, equating to around £2,000 in extra payments each year.

Starting salaries for new social workers are set to increase as part of the investment, which will also see the introduction of a new loyalty payment of £2,000 for social workers who work in Oldham for at least the next two years.

The pay review comes after the Children's Social Work Academy launched in October to offer people looking to get into social work a way into the profession and provide further training for existing workers in Oldham.

Under the investment plans, 17 additional social care support workers will also be recruited to take on the administrative side of the service and five new specialist foster carers to train and support those caring for the most vulnerable children in the borough.

The investment in foster care aims to reduce the council’s need to use privately-run residential homes and out-of-borough homes.

The creation of a residential care home in Oldham for children with disabilities and more semi-independent homes for young people leaving care also form part of the plans.

Cllr Chadderton said: "Every child in Oldham deserves to be given the very best start in life and the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

"That's why today we're announcing extra support for those children and young people that need it the most."