Glasgow council is to resist offering incentives to attract new
social workers, and has urged the Scottish executive to lead an
effective national recruitment campaign.
The council was responding to reports in Scottish newspapers
that it was to offer salary incentives to retain experienced social
workers and attract new graduates. An increasing number of local
authorities are offering ‘golden hellos’ of up to
£2,000, extra holidays and a higher starting salary.
Glasgow’s director of social services Ronnie
O’Connor has advised the council that to go down that road
will simply exacerbate the problem rather than solve it. In his
report to the social work committee O’Connor says that all
councils should resist the temptation to compete with each other
since that approach will result in an increasing proportion of
social workers moving between employers while the overall shortfall
would be left unaffected.
In April, Cathy Jamieson, minister for education and young
people, announced that the executive would be undertaking a drive
to attract more people into social work. The package included
£3.5 million already allocated to social work departments for
training and supporting frontline staff as well as a recruitment
and awareness campaign through the media.
Jamieson said that executive funding to local authorities had
recruited an extra 100 social workers in the year 2001-02. In spite
of this there remained some 350 vacancies in the social work sector
with an additional 5 per cent of home care posts being