Business booming at unique Barnsley firm

Chris Armitage, left, with Stuart and Julie Henderson of Welfare Call.
Chris Armitage, left, with Stuart and Julie Henderson of Welfare Call.

A Barnsley company, which collects information about school attendance of looked after children, has doubled its turnover and staffing in the past five years.

Cudworth-based Welfare Call has increased turnover to £1.9 million since 2010, and taken on ten call centre operators and one IT developer in the past four months alone, taking its total number of staff to 80.

The company supplies data to nearly 70 per cent of all councils across England and Wales, with more coming on line this year. It is also about to take on three new administration apprentices and one IT apprentice in the next few weeks.

Logistics manager Chris Armitage said: “The information we collect not only helps increase attendance at school, by flagging up potential problems, but offers children better opportunities to be educated. It’s also all about keeping children safe which, as we know in these times, is more important than ever.”

Welfare Call is the biggest player in its specialist service sector, making more than 19,000 calls to 16,000 schools across the UK every day, to record the attendance of 23,500 children who have become the responsibility of the local authority. Youngsters can become ‘looked after children’ for a number of reasons including because parents are struggling to cope, or through an intervention by children’s services because a child is at risk of significant harm.

The company was formed in 2002 by Stuart and Julie Henderson who relocated to Cudworth’s Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC) seven years ago, after outgrowing its offices in Summer Lane, Barnsley.