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Warning of staff exodus
The Cafcass pay settlement means that staff at the family courts body have received a lower rise than council counterparts in six of the past seven years.
This increasing disparity – driven by civil service pay rules by which Cafcass is bound – has previously led the family courts body’s chief executive, Jacky Tiotto, to warn of an exodus of staff on the grounds of pay.
Notwithstanding these concerns, Cafcass has said that it believes its wider benefits package for staff, including in relation to wellbeing and flexible working, will help mitigate against recruitment and retention issues.
Unions, meanwhile, insist that their pay dispute with Cafcass is not over, and say the employer has “imposed” the 2.51% offer without agreement.
Real-terms pay cut
Despite the differences in pay rises, Cafcass staff, council social workers and NHS practitioners have all received a significant real-terms salary cut, with none of the settlements getting close to the consistently high inflation rate.
According to the government’s preferred consumer prices index measure, inflation was 10.5% in the year to December 2022.
In the past year, social workers have also reported struggling with the cost of living crisis.
A Community Care survey in summer 2022 found that three-quarters (77%) of the 253 respondents had been ‘severely’ or ‘significantly’ affected by rising costs, with most who gave figures at least £100 out of pocket each month for petrol.
An accompanying poll last September saw 400 readers (70% of those who responded) reporting they were going in debt because of the cost of living crisis.
Have you been struggling because of the latest pay settlements? Tell us about your experience. Email our community journalist, Anastasia Koutsounia, at firstname.lastname@example.org