Birmingham Council is still struggling to recruit children’s social workers eight months after concerns were raised over high staff turnover.
More than a quarter of posts in children’s specialist services are unfilled – about 132 posts out of a total of 520 – according to a report by the council’s vulnerable children overview and scrutiny committee.
The report, published last week, also said that Birmingham Council’s total number of social work posts (filled and unfilled) needed to increase by another 25 to bring the council up to the level of other councils.
It said high staff turnover in recent years meant children’s services operated in an “intensive high threshold environment” that limited the preventive work that could be done.
In response, Amy Weir, interim service director of specialist children’s services, told Community Care that “recruitment had picked up considerably” although she was “realistic” about the challenges in reducing high staff turnover.
The committee found last September that 100 children’s social work posts were vacant and raised concerns over the large numbers of inexperienced frontline social workers.
Several ex-Birmingham staff contacted Community Care claiming that a culture of “sink or swim” had been driving social workers away. But Weir said that the ex-employees were “not representative” of most staff.
The council did recruit 14 US social workers and 23 graduates last year but nine of the US social workers had delays with their GSCC registration.
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