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Adult social work jobs and pay increase as councils cut back on care staff

Councils employed more adult social workers in 2012 than 2011 amid overall 5% cut in adult social services workforce in town hall, finds official figures.

Councils are appointing more social workers (Monkey Business Images/Rex Features)
Councils are appointing more social workers (Monkey Business Images/Rex Features)

Councils in England have increased the number of adult social workers they employ but have cut back significantly on other care staff roles, official figures show.

Adult social services departments employed 16,600 social workers in September 2012, up 2% on the figure for September 2011 (16,200), according to annual workforce data published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Median annual salaries for social workers also increased by 2%, from £31,200 to £31,800 a year from 2011-12.

However, the total number of people employed by adult social services departments fell by 5%, from 159,400 to 150,700, which councils attributed to budget cuts, restructures and outsourcing of services.

The vacancy rate for social workers was 7.2% in 2012, slightly above the figure for the whole adult social services workforce (6.7%); however, turnover, at 9.8% for social workers, was lower than the figure for the workforce as a whole.

Other findings from the research included that:-

  • 79% of social workers (and 82% of the whole adult social services workforce) were female;
  • The average age of social workers in 2012 was 45, compared with 47 for the whole workforce;
  • 19% of social workers were from black and minority ethnic groups, up from 18% in 2011, and compared with a whole workforce figure of 12%;
  • 51% of all adult social services jobs were part-time but this figure was only 29% for professional roles;
  • The adult social services workforce made up just 8% of the wider adult social care workforce in England, compared with 49% employed by the private sector, 16% by the voluntary sector and 23% employed directly by service users.

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