Page last updated at 20:50 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

Birmingham council cuts 'to hit social care'

Khyra Ishaq
The council came under scrutiny after the death of Khyra Ishaq

Birmingham City Council spending cuts place an unprecedented burden on social workers making it harder for them to visit people at risk, a union warns.

It is under scrutiny after the death of Khyra Ishaq who was starved at home.

The council agreed a £69m budget cut this week and Unison union said if administrative posts were cut that would leave less time for home visits.

The council said it would not lay off front-line staff but it had 150 social worker posts that it could not fill.

Desk-bound workers

Seven-year-old Khyra, from Handsworth, Birmingham, was starved to death by her family for five months in 2008, after being withdrawn from school to be home tutored.

Khyra Ishaq's home
Unison said it feared there would be fewer home visits after the cuts

Social workers tried twice to visit her after malnutrition concerns were raised by her former school, but the council employees were denied entry to the house.

Khyra's mother Angela Gordon, 35, and her partner Junaid Abuhamza, 31, have pleaded guilty to manslaughter and are awaiting sentencing.

Unison eader Tony Rabbiott said: "The situation for social workers at the moment is when they get into work there are about 20 messages that they have to deal with before they get to see anyone.

"If the council is going to cut administrative services then that means more front-line people have to do the administrative tasks and that means they get to see fewer members of the public."

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