Children’s social workers’ salaries must rise

Children’s social workers will leave for less pressurised
posts unless their salaries are increased, delegates at a child
health and care conference were warned last week,
writes Amy Taylor.

Steve Love, assistant director of social services at Hampshire
Council, told the conference, organised by Community
’s sister magazine 0-19, that social workers were
being attracted towards adult and youth services rather than
children’s because they were often seen as less stressful

“We have to increase [children’s social
workers’] salaries,” Love said. “You can get the
same money as a Connexions advisor. Unless we make it an attractive
choice to work with children, social workers have got other options
open to them.”

His pleas follow the confirmation by community care minister
Stephen Ladyman in July that the Department of Health are
considering encouraging local authorities to increase the pay of
social workers who take on tougher cases (news, page 8, 31 July).
The children’s green paper published earlier this month
reiterated plans to move towards a framework that “fairly
rewards skills and responsibilities”.

Love went on highlight the need for a better workforce strategy,
pointing out that agencies currently provided better rates of pay
for social workers than many local authorities. “We see
agency staff, who can work less hours, earn more money. And that is
enticing away some of our own staff.”

He added that the government needed to put more money into
children’s services to ensure the measures in the green paper
were met. “We are concerned that if we don’t see any
additional funding, we are not going to meet the requirements that
are being set out,” he explained.

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