Social workers in adult services have seen real terms cuts to their pay packets and job numbers fall, new figures show.
Official figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that adult social workers in England saw their pay drop by an average of 2.7% between 2012 and 2014 once inflation was accounted for (from the equivalent of £33,000 in 2012 to £32,100 in 2014). This was the second-largest real terms pay cut among the 11 adult social care roles listed. Managers were the group to see the most significant decrease as their pay fell by 3.9% in real terms over the three-year period.
The report also found that there 15,700 social worker jobs in local authority adult social services departments in 2014, a drop of 5% from 2013. The number of social workers had previously increased by 2% between 2011 and 2013.
Care Act concerns
Charity Independent Age raised concerns about the fall in number of social workers, with the implementation of the Care Act 2014 this year and next requiring councils to undertake many more assessments of carers and self-funders who wish to be considered for the new cap on care costs.
“The reduction in qualified social worker jobs also raises question marks over councils’ ability to properly implement the Care Act when it comes into force in April, requiring them to carry out many more assessments than previously as more people become eligible for funding and register with their councils to count spending towards the ‘cap’ on care cost which will come into force in 2016,” said Independent Age’s director of policy, Simon Bottery.
The overall number of jobs in adult social care departments fell from 140,700 in 2013 to 130,100 in 2014, a drop of 8%, continuing a downward trend in numbers of council adult care staff. Two-thirds of the 152 councils in England had cut job numbers. Among 76 local authorities that gave reasons for the reductions the most common reason was restructures (a factor in 6,300 job cuts), followed by outsourcing (4,500 jobs) and redundancies (2,400 jobs).