Shortage of social workers eases

Efforts to train more social workers have resulted in a 3.4 per
cent fall in the vacancy rate, the latest report from the Social
Care and Health Workforce Group has shown.

The average vacancy rate fell from 9.4 per cent to 6 per cent
between 2001 and 2002, including a fall in children’s social worker
vacancies from 11.3 per cent to 9.2 per cent.

But short-term solutions are still being used by many, with
councils spending £114m on long-term agency work in 2002
compared with £74m in 2001.

Councils have also invested more in social work qualifying
training: £11m in 2001 to 2002 compared with £4m in 2000
to 2001.

Vic Citarella from the Local Government Association, said:
“Recruitment and retention is moving in the right direction but
there is a long way to go, especially in London.”

– Report available from website

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