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.
Steve Love, assistant director of social services at Hampshire
Council, said social workers were being attracted towards adult and
youth services rather than children’s because they were often seen
as less stressful environments.
“We have to increase [children’s social workers’] salaries,” Love
told the conference, organised by Community Care‘s sister
magazine, 0-19. “You can get the same money as a Connexions
adviser. Unless we make it an attractive choice to work with
children, social workers have other options open to them.”
His pleas follow the confirmation by community care minister
Stephen Ladyman in July that the Department of Health was
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 this month, reiterates plans
to move towards a framework that “fairly rewards skills and
Love highlighted the need for a better workforce strategy, pointing
out that agencies provide better rates of pay for social workers
than many local authorities.
“We see agency staff, who can work fewer hours, earn more money.
And that is enticing away some of our own staff,” he said.
He added that the government needed to put more money into
children’s services to meet the measures in the green paper. “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
Jane Schofield, chief executive of Greenwich Primary Care Trust in
London, proposed a new type of “generic” support worker, working
across health, social care and education to help make workloads
Schofield said a “role redesign” of support workers, such as health
visitor assistants and classroom assistants, could create a
“generic animal” that could support professionals in all three
sectors rather than just one.
“As we bring these three professionals together, we need to bring
the teams beneath them together,” she said.