by Daniel Lombard
Kent Council has recruited 29 social workers from Boston, Massachusetts to fill vacancies in its children’s services, starting in February.
It seems more and more councils are turning to other countries, particularly the US, which has a surplus of social workers (Haringey is doing the same, as reported in Community Care). Unlike Britain, which has an estimated 15,000 vacancies across the country.
Kent Council has also offered nine jobs to professionals from other European countries, but the authority’s lead member for children’s services, Sarah Hohler, is keen to stress that its international recruitment programme is being conducted alongside a local recruitment campaign (complete with a colourful website).
“Recruiting frontline children and families social workers and retaining them has been an issue around the country,” she said.
“Kent has a good reputation for training and supporting staff. This helps to retain our experienced workers and attract new people. They work in sometimes difficult and challenging circumstances and I am extremely proud of them.”
The decision to employ international social workers cannot be a reflection on the quality of services, as Kent was recently named as one of the best-performing authorities in England by the Audit Commission.