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.