Pay in the south: social worker salaries compared

Following our survey of permanent and agency social worker salaries Community Care offers a more detailed breakdown of regional variations

London and the South East are on average offering social workers the highest pay rates in the country, Community Care research shows.

Our freedom of information request to England’s local authorities shows that the capital pays an average £39,855 for qualified children’s social workers, £4,000 higher than the national average of £35,444. Westminster reported the highest maximum salary across all our survey.

The average top-of-pay scale salary in the neighbouring South East region is lower than London, but not that far behind, and still outstrips the national median, at £37,122, while in the South West, our research found the lowest average in England, £32,486.

Team managers saw a median salary of £51,555 in London, £49,283 in the South East and £43,821 in the South West, again the lowest region. Advanced practitioners could expect a median £38,237 in the South West and up to £43,815 in the capital.

Top of band annual social worker basic salaries in London

Adults’ social care pay

In London a qualified adults’ social worker was paid a median £40,086, slightly higher than children’s services. A higher average was also seen for their South West counterparts, at £33,341, with the South East followed the trend of much of the country, paying adults’ social workers slightly lower than their equivalents in children’s services, at a median £35,912.

Advanced practitioners in adults’ services and based in the South East matched that of children’s at £41,025, while London also saw an identical average for adults’ services compared to children’s. The South West paid marginally higher for adults’ advanced practitioners at £38,707.

Meanwhile team managers in London see £3,000 less compared to those working in children’s services, at £48,489, with the same picture in the South East (£46,914). Adults’ team managers in the South West matched that of children’s services.

Top of band annual social worker basic salaries in the South East

Agency worker hourly rates

Agency workers in the London and the south of England are subject to caps on their hourly rates under regional memorandums of understanding (MoUs). The South East and London regions supplied their caps to Community Care, with qualified social workers and team managers in both regions able to expect £32 and £42 per hour respectively.

Community Care was told by a handful of councils that they have paid higher than this in some instances, with the highest quoted hourly rate in the South East of £37 at Kent council.

Top of band annual social worker basic salaries in the South West

More from Community Care

3 Responses to Pay in the south: social worker salaries compared

  1. Annon March 9, 2018 at 11:15 am #

    Who ever has produced this data really hasn’t put much time into this.
    Looking at the rates of the perm roles you have failed to identify that places like Merton for example do not have a Senior Social Worker Grade so it misleads the data in comparison to Hertfordshire for example who have a Social Work and a Senior Practitioner grade which makes them actually up to £37,306 etc. The list goes on and on.

    London on a normal basis has on average a 25% higher cost of living, hence the posts attract a higher local weighting for the salaries.
    You’ve also failed to identify the cost of living in the regions which will put the salaries into perspective.

  2. Daniel March 13, 2018 at 8:00 pm #

    Camden don’t have an advanced practitioner/senior social worker role for adults. Where did you get this information from?

  3. Anita Singh March 15, 2018 at 2:24 am #

    I agree with Annon. E.g. the cost of a two bed terraced house up north is likely to be anywhere between £50k to £150k, compared to the average two bed terrace in London would cost upwards of £400k. Equate this in terms of rental costs and here is the gross shortfall for those working in the south east in meeting the costs of living. Property prices in the South East have gone up because of the pressure on house prices from London the average two bed terraces in areas that were traditionally cheap now fetch upwards of £150 – 200k (150 being considered to be very cheap). The nearer to London the higher the price, so properties in Dartford, Essex and M25 corridor are at almost the same level as London prices. This is without factoring in the cost of living, council tax, higher petrol prices etc.