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Extra £30m pledged for Birmingham children's services

An extra £30 million will be ploughed into Birmingham’s troubled children’s services department next year, with new jobs to be created, it can be revealed today.

It comes as the council struggles to find an extra £300m in expected cutbacks in the coming years.

City council leader Sir Albert Bore said the extra money will be spent on bringing the department up to scratch, including recruiting a number of new social workers.

He added that bosses were hoping for “some good news soon” in the hunt for a new director of children’s services, after their last appointment Bernie McNally quit in the middle of her month-long induction period. He argued that problems recruiting and retaining social workers was not a problem exclusive to Birmingham.

Sir Albert said the authority would be applying to the government in the hope of receiving extra funding to help improve the department, which has been rated as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted for the past six years.

Birmingham City Council has to make £300m cuts in the next four years Credit: PA

But, he warned, if the answer from Westminster was no, the money would have to come from yet more budget cuts.

The council has already made some £465msavings since 2010, with more than £300m of cutbacks still to come by 2018.

Sir Bore’s comments came ahead of the release of a consultation report, which is appealing for people to contribute their views on where the axe should fall ahead of the 2015/16 budget.

Pat McFadden becomes Shadow Minister for Europe

Pat McFadden, the Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East, is joining Labour’s Foreign Affairs team as Shadow Minister for Europe, Labour Leader Ed Miliband announced today.

Pat McFadden MP Credit: PA

He takes over from Gareth Thomas who moves within the Foreign Affairs team to become Shadow Minister covering the Middle East and North Africa.

Ian Lucas goes from the Foreign Affairs team to Defence covering international security strategy.

Yvonne Fovargue moves from Defence to Education replacing Rushanara Ali as Shadow Minister for Young People.

I’m delighted to be joining the front bench at this crucial time.

I want to make the hard-headed, patriotic case for both Britain in Europe and for change in Europe so that it works for working people.

Labour believes that Europe can and must be made to work better for Britain but we understand that the right road for Britain is change in Europe, not exit from Europe.

– Pat McFadden MP


John Mann MP uses Twitter to gather alleged historic abuse information

John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire, has taken to social media to gather information about allegations of historic child abuse.

New Birmingham children's services chief quits

The newly-appointed executive director of Birmingham City Council's children’s services has today resigned from the post - before she even officially began.

Bernie McNally was appointed in August and was due to begin the job next month, but a statement from the council tonight said during her induction she had decided she was no longer interested in the post.

The services have been labelled "inadequate" by inspectors for the last six years.

Bernie McNally was due to start at the council next month Credit: PA

A spokeswoman said the decision had been made by “mutual agreement”, but said it was “disappointing”.

This news is disappointing as we thought we had secured an excellent candidate from the first class group of people who applied for the post.

Our priority however is to ensure that children are made safe through what we are doing and this is a big collective challenge.

It’s important to remind ourselves that our most serious staffing challenge is to get the right number of social workers doing great social work with the best team management around them.

– Birmingham City Council spokeswoman

The statement added that the temporary management team which had been running the department during Ms McNally’s induction would continue while the hunt for a new candidate began.

Keanu Williams was beaten to death by his mother. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA Wire

The children's services admitted last year that 1,400 children in Birmingham were deemed at risk.

The revelation came after a serious case review into the death of 2 year-old Keanu Reeves who was beaten to death by his mother.


Malala continued school day despite being told of award

Malala Yousafzai carried on with her school day today, despite being told by a teacher that she had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala Yousafzai came to Birmingham for treatment after she was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan 2 years ago Credit: ITV News Central

After being informed at 10.15, she went to physics class. But all her friends at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham were congratulating her.

She said she is really happy, although the award isn't going to help her with her GCSEs - that depends on her hard work!

Malala told the media she wants every child to go to school and get an eduction, and wants to tell every child to stand up for their rights.

She said the award is for all children who are voiceless, as she stands up with them and speaks up for them.

Malala thanks family after Nobel Peace Prize win

Malala Yousafzai has told the world's media that she is honoured to be first Pakistani prize winner.

Malala Yousafzai addresses the world's press Credit: ITV News Central

She thanked her family - especially her father - for letting her achieve her goal and not conforming to stereotypes about treatment of women.

Malala was in chemistry class at 10.15 this morning studying electrolysis when her teacher entered the class and said had something important to tell her!

She said she felt really honoured, because the award is not just a piece of metal. She said she can go forward and believe in herself so every child gets quality education.

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