Unison will set up a strategy to dissuade social services
departments from offering financial incentives to attract social
care staff, after members voted this week for a campaign for more
money overall, writes Sally Gillen.
Golden hellos, extra holiday and a range of other cash incentives
are increasingly being used by councils with high vacancy rates to
poach staff from other boroughs.
In February, for example, Hampshire council began offering a
£3,000 golden hello to boost its social services
But at the public sector union’s local government conference this
week members passed a motion to look again at nationally agreed pay
and instead push for an increase in social services funding.
Extra money could be used to boost the salaries and improve the
training offered by councils across the country, which would be
more effective in addressing the issue than offering incentives
which pushed recruitment and retention problems onto other
Ian McDonald, from Surrey council branch, said that the amount of
unpaid overtime that many social workers were forced to do, which
in some cases was equivalent to 35 hours a week, was “an absolute
In Scotland, where some councils have vacancy rates of up to 50 per
cent, a motion was passed to carry out a national review of grades
and work conditions.