Performance related pay for social workers will be made
available for the first time under proposals by Newham council,
writes David Brown.
Staff who have satisfactory appraisals and meet performance
targets will receive annual bonuses of £1,500 from April next
The scheme is likely to become a benchmark for other councils if
Newham’s scheme will be offered to all 300 social workers up to
and including team manager level.
Its proposals say: “The appraisal process provides the framework
to determine whether or not a performance bonus should be
“After discussion with the social worker at the appraisal
meeting further targets [will be] set for future performance
related bonus payments.”
The east London council is also planning to offer “market
supplements” of £3,000 for social workers in its children’s
assessment and children in need teams who stay with Newham for two
Pay scales for all social workers will also be raised by two
increments and those for senior practitioners, deputy team mangers
and team mangers by one grade. This will result in annual pay
increases between £1,100 and £1,260 from October.
The council is also planning to increase the ratio of
unqualified social work assistants to social workers.
Unison said it will continue to defer its industrial action
while studying the proposals. It has had a campaign of rolling
one-day strikes over pay. The social services department has been
under special measures since February.
Michael Gavan, branch chair of Newham Unison, said it is likely
to oppose performance related bonuses unless they are effectively a
salary rise which is paid to all staff.
The branch also opposes the “market supplements”, claiming it is
unfair to colleagues who are not eligible.
Unison welcomed the proposed pay rises, particularly after the
council’s chief executive Dave Burbage had said last year that he
could “not disagree more about a blanket approach to increments”
for social workers.
Mr Gavan said: “We will now try and negotiate to make sure that
the rest of the offer becomes further enhancements for all social
workers with no strings attached.”