Local authority and voluntary sector pay

The pay gap between those who work in London local authority
social services departments and those who work in the rest of
England remains large, the Social Services Workforce Survey for
2003 reveals.

Salaries in London were between 9 per and 28 per cent higher
than the national average, depending on the job.

A children and families social worker in London receives an
average maximum salary of £32,148 while his or her counterpart
working in the west Midlands will get less than £25,000

A home care organiser in the capital will earn a maximum of
£28,393 and someone doing the same job in West Midlands will
receive only £20,545.

The survey does not speculate on the reasons why there is such a
gap but the often reported difficulties London authorities have in
recruiting and retaining staff in a high cost part of England has
led some councils recently to increase their salary levels to
attract staff.

The west Midlands scores low on salary rates across the board.
It is the only area in England that pays a maximum of less than
£25,000 a year for occupational therapists and all social
workers. By contrast the region offers maximum levels of pay for
home care managers higher than any region outside of the south of

• The national average salary maximum for children’s
social workers and occupational therapists was around £27,000
a year, slightly higher than for adults’ social workers.

• The average salary for home care organisers was around
£23,000 and for home care managers around £28,000.

• The average for managers of elderly people’s homes
was around £28,000-£28,500, depending on the size of
home, while managers of children’s homes averaged
£30,000. For deputies, the figures were £23,000 and
£26,000 respectively.

• Care staff in elderly people’s homes were paid on
average £6.19 per hour, those in children’s homes
£9.63, and home care workers £6.23. The current basic
hourly pay rates include any area allowances, but exclude weekend,
shift or other unsociable hours payments, overtime etc.

Average scales for care staff in elderly people’s homes,
children’s homes and home care workers were highest in
London. The average maximum varied between £5.80 (North West)
and £7.60 (London) for care staff in elderly people’s
homes, between £6.66 (South West) and £12.23 (London) for
care staff in children’s homes and between £5.89 (North
East) and £7.50 (London) for home care workers.

Other job benefits were available to staff: career grade
progression schemes (45 per cent of children’s social worker
posts), basic salary increases or regradings (28 per cent), market
supplements (14 per cent), accelerated promotion (15 per cent),
“golden hello” payments (12 per cent) and lump sum
retention payments (11 per cent).

Meanwhile, Community Care has published results of an e-mail
survey of more than 3,000 readers in the voluntary sector (14 per
cent response rate) to assess, among other things, the levels of
pay and pay increases for a range of occupations in the sector.

The New Earnings Survey 2003 already revealed the national
average wage in the voluntary sector to be just £22,064. But
the Community Care survey showed the average salary of the
respondents to be £28,000.

This reflects the relatively high proportion of managerial
respondents and respondents from the South East and London.
Nevertheless, almost one in five of respondents (18 per cent) do
fall into the salary bands at or below the level of the national
average wage for the industry.

But it also showed that those who already earn most received the
highest percentage pay awards in 2003 – the average annual
salary increase being 2.8 per cent (compared to the average annual
rate of growth in earnings across the UK at the time of the survey
of 3.6 per cent).

Only one in 10 of the survey sample did better than this average
and these were invariably directors of various agencies. They
received 4.32 per cent increase. But at the bottom of the pile came
social workers who managed only a 1.9 per cent increase in their
salary at the time of their last pay award.

• The Social Services Workforce study was  of 149
authorities in England (113 responses) at 30 September 2003.
Available from: www.lg-employers.gov.uk

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