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

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

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

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

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