Irritable, menopausal single parent Rose is having a bad day. After leaving her three sick children to be cared for by her mother, she breaks her phone, drops her coffee and arrives late for work at the social services department.
There's no respite in the office, though, as Rose finds the floor as chaotic as her home. Martin, a former colleague who was let go due to mental problems, has managed to get into the building again, while Nat, a new temp devoid of any common sense, is struggling to get to grips with simple tasks on her first day.
Rose's experienced, yet jaded, colleague Al helps her through the morning, taking every opportunity to mock the colourful characters that make up the rest of the floor.
Al hates the bureaucracy that comes with his job and consequently finds himself in constant battle with his pedantic and badly-dressed co-worker Nitin, a former policeman obsessed with performance targets.
Rose's day gets gradually worse: a check on her mother and children leads her to discover they have all disappeared. Returning to the pandemonium of her office in a state of panic, Rose quickly finds herself faced with a crisis that threatens to throw her career into jeopardy.
In the first episode, Nitin the ex-copper with no personal allegiances or friends - is tasked with grassing on the rest of the team.
An unexpected outbreak of punctuality surprises the cluster teams at Elm Heath, Rose uncovers an embarrassing truth while investigating an improper teacher-pupil relationship, and Nitin wins the job of cleaning Elm Heath council's most toxic kitchen. Meanwhile, Al quietly comes to the rescue of his clients with learning difficulties - and a new baby. Just another day for the over-stretched social workers of the Children's Services department.
Elm Heath Children's Services is doing its best: Al is worrying about the homophobic abuse of some gay parents, while Nitin is throwing up everywhere having accidentally put his arse up on Instagram. Rose is still fretting about the fall-out from the teacher-pupil relationship at Glenway, and Nat has brought handcuffs into work. Everyone is entirely unaware that one of them is about to be taken hostage by a violent man with two children in care, a personal grudge against Rose, and a full bladder. A curry is called for.
Rose's mum has dementia. There's no way of looking after her unless Rose can pass her off as work experience and craftily get her assessed by the Elderly Care team upstairs.
Nat has fixed Nitin up on a date. Meanwhile there's an emergency meeting about two teenage girls who have gone missing.
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