Posts left vacant by cash-strapped social services

Social services departments are leaving social worker posts
unfilled because they can’t afford to invest in new staff,
writes Derren Hayes.

Early findings from an Association of Directors of Social
Services budget survey shows the average vacancy rate for
children’s social workers is 17 per cent this year.

However, in some areas it is as high as 60 per cent and in
London boroughs, where workforce pressures are most acute, the
average is 25 per cent.

The survey reveals that councils are increasingly looking to
agency social workers to cover the shortfall, with the average
social services department projected to spend £740,000 on
agency staff – an increase of £40,000 from 2002/03. It
now accounts for 13 per cent of the average department’s
projected field work spend.

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