Workers cash in as bidding war hots up

A social worker bidding war has resulted in nearly a quarter of
Scottish councils offering “golden handcuff” payments of up to

East Dunbartonshire Council is the latest local authority to offer
award bonus payments – £4,000 to all new and existing
front-line, permanent, qualified fieldwork staff.

It has also set aside £100,000 to develop a fast-track
training scheme and said it would manage workloads to prevent

As a result of the additional spending, the council has been forced
to freeze recruitment on two and a half vacancies.

A confidential report presented to the council’s policy and
resources committee warned: “The numbers of professional social
work staff who are now seeking to leave as a result of incentives
being offered elsewhere has produced a high risk in terms of our
ability to meet our statutory duties.”

The authority normally employs 59 social workers but already has 23
vacant posts with five more staff members considering leaving
within a few weeks.

Fiona Risk, convener of East Dunbartonshire’s social services
committee, said the nationwide shortage of social workers had led
to a “bidding war” between authorities, with new Scottish executive
initiatives fuelling the demand for qualified staff.

Cash incentives of up to £5,000, or higher starting points on
local salary scales, were already being offered by at least six
other nearby authorities, a spokesperson for East Dunbartonshire

There are an estimated 400 social work vacancies in Scotland.

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