Most social services departments are struggling to retain staff and fill vacancies

Almost three-quarters of social services departments are
struggling to recruit and retain social workers, a survey from the
employers organisations has revealed.

The seventh annual survey of recruitment and retention covered
local authorities in England and Wales and was conducted by the
Employers Organisation and the Provincial Employers

Some local authorities said social workers who are in post also
lack the skills and qualifications needed to perform the job.

The findings, which will come as no surprise to anyone in social
care, illustrate the need for the national awareness campaign
launched by Community Care and the Local Government Association
last month. The aim of the campaign is to boost the profession’s
image to attract more recruits.

The survey showed that the role of benefit officer was the most
difficult to fill, agreed 82 per cent of local authorities. Social
workers came a close second, while over one third of social
services departments were having problems finding occupational
therapists, and over one quarter reported difficulties with social
work practice team workers.

Of the 170 local authorities that responded to the skills gap
part of the survey, 54 per cent said they did not have any gaps.
From those reporting skills gaps, social workers in particular were
identified as lacking adequate professional skills and
qualifications. A few authorities sited Best Value and partnership
knowledge and skills as gaps.




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