The average caseload of a children’s social worker is 17.8, government statistics have revealed.
The latest set of children’s social work workforce statistics , published today, said 17,840 social workers (including agency workers) held 317,690 cases in children’s services at 30 September 2017.
This is the second year the government have estimated the average social worker caseload, but the first time the stats had been collected at an “individual social worker level”.
“Average caseload varied between local authorities, between 10.2 for Kingston upon Thames and Richmond upon Thames, to 26.4 for Staffordshire.
“Some of this variation may be down to differing local practices in case management, with some local authorities raising this as an issue during the collection,” said the release.
The statistics, which the Department for Education has designated as “experimental”, also revealed a count of 5,820 social worker vacancies at the end of September 2017, a 5% increase from the same point in 2016. The vacancy rate reported by local authorities remained the same at 17%.
There were “large” regional variations in the number of vacancies, the figures found, with an 8% vacancy rate in Yorkshire & Humber, but ones of 27% and 24% in Outer and Inner London respectively.
The number of agency workers did not increase between 2016 and 2017, the statistics said.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of social workers who left their jobs in the year 2017 had been in their local authority less than five years. More than half of the leavers in the year (56% full-time equivalent) were between aged between 30 and 49.
Overall, the total headcount of children and families social workers was 30,670 in the year to September 2017.