GOVERNMENT TO LAUNCH RECRUITMENT DRIVE FOR SOCIAL WORKERS

    The department of health is to launch a three-year national
    recruitment campaign for social workers, but there is no promise to
    increase salary levels, writes Clare
    Jerrom
    .

    Denise Platt, chief inspector of social services, has written to
    directors of social services saying the government has responded to
    research undertaken by the Local Government Association earlier
    this year, which showed that 63 per cent of local authorities were
    experiencing difficulties recruiting social workers.

    “The research suggested that the most important factor in
    deterring people from entering social work was the intensely
    negative image that surrounds the profession,” Platt said. “This
    negative image is accompanied by an almost total lack of knowledge
    amongst the general public about what social workers really
    do.”

    The campaign will include national press and radio coverage,
    with extra coverage in London and the south-east where recruitment
    problems are known to be particularly acute. It will be accompanied
    by information booklets explaining what social work is and how to
    enter a career in it. A separate booklet will be available on
    social care work.

    In addition, the government will set up a phone number for
    potential recruits to call for more information, and a website to
    provide details of the campaign and links to major organisations
    within social care.

    However, in the letter, there is no mention of financial
    incentives. This is in contrast to recent recruitment drives for
    nurses and teachers which offered extra money to attract more
    recruits.

    The campaign will be officially announced at the annual social
    services conference in October, but publicity will begin in
    September. The move follows health minister John Hutton’s pledge in
    March at the launch of a joint Community Care and LGA
    campaign to raise awareness about the good work done by social care
    staff.

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