The annual survey of social services staff working in social
services department in England on 30 September 2002 was published
The 208,300 full time equivalent staff recorded represents a 2
per cent fall over the previous year, and a 9 per cent decline on
1997. As with earlier declines, last year’s drop reflects a
continuing export of jobs out of the local authority sector into
the residential and home care private sector. There has been a 21
per cent fall in the numbers of staff working in local authority
residential care in the past five years.
However, this general fall masks a continued increase in the
numbers of social work staff, which was 2 per cent higher than 2001
and fully 8 per cent higher than in 1997. This reflects the
increase in central government funding for a number of programmes
and the result of recruitment campaigns. This increase was
generally across the board but falls were registered for those
social workers operating in generic settings and day centres.
Forty per cent of social workers work with children, 23 per cent
with adults/older people, and 28 per cent in health settings.
Three-quarters of all social work staff are female.
The sharpest rises in staff numbers were those in what is called
“central strategic staff” – senior managers,
trainers and support staff. Over the past five years, planning
staff numbers have increased by 48 per cent and senior managers by
20 per cent.
Support staff have seen their number rise by 35 per cent, mainly
as a result of councils purchasing services from the independent
sector and then appointing staff to manage contracts.
Across the country and all types of employment in social
services, 9 per cent of posts were held by people from ethnic
minorities. This average holds true for social workers in field
offices as well as those workers employed in day centres.
But the figure rises dramatically in inner London to 41 per cent
– and 62 per cent in the borough of Hackney. This contrasts
sharply with the north east of England, where only 1 per cent of
staff are from the ethnic minorities.