Social workers with toughest cases could be paid more

The government is considering encouraging local authorities to
pay social workers taking on the toughest cases more in an effort
to tackle the workforce shortage, writes Derren

The department of health confirmed that new community care
minister Stephen Ladyman has floated the idea, but that it is in
the “very early stages” of development. Discussions
with the sector are planned for the autumn, with the possibility of
guidance being issued by the department on how to implement such a

With the pool of social workers running dry, councils are
increasingly resorting to paying ‘golden hellos’ and
bonuses to attract and retain staff, but this could develop that
concept further by improving rewards for frontline practitioners
working with the most challenging clients or in a field where job
vacancy rates are worst.

A doh spokesperson said: “The government is aware that
there are problems in recruiting social workers and although we do
not have direct responsibility for recruitment and retention, it is
something that we are taking very seriously and are working with
employers to tackle the problems.”

Vacancy rates are particularly bad in children’s services
and in certain parts of London and the south east, where it can be
up to 50 per cent of the social services workforce.

The department has beefed-up its telephone advice line for
people considering careers in social work to now offer a wider
range of information about social work courses, training and
financial support. 

The service is available 8am-10pm daily, and the telephone
number is 0845 604 6404

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