Explainer: What pay rises have social workers received in 2022-23?

Social workers in England and Wales have received significantly different rises depending on their employer – here is a breakdown of who got what

Pay rise
Photo: Adobe Stock/Nuthawut

Against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, social workers in England and Wales working for Cafcass, local authorities and the NHS have received varying pay rises in 2022-23.

To illustrate who has got what, we have broken down the pay rises by organisation in the gallery below.

Click on the blue arrow on the right of the first slide to move to the next one.

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 anastasia.koutsounia@markallengroup.com


8 Responses to Explainer: What pay rises have social workers received in 2022-23?

  1. TiredSocialWorker January 31, 2023 at 12:35 am #

    But hey. The union’s don’t think we have any reason to strike.

    • Lady9090 January 31, 2023 at 5:14 pm #

      Not true. All union members were given the right to strike. The members decided not to!

    • Karim February 1, 2023 at 11:19 am #

      You and your collagues are the union. If you or your colleagues voted not to strike than your union stewards can’t call you out on strike. It’s time social workers took responsibility for their own decisions rather than push the blame on to others. 7 out of 15 Unison members in my office didn’t even bother to vote on the pay offer. It’s on us not the union officers.

  2. Chris Sterry January 31, 2023 at 5:14 pm #

    I will bow to the judgement of Social Workers for they know their situation so much better than myself.

    As many in social care or even social care in total does not have a good press and as such is not viewed as highly as it should be by many of the UK population, but follows the press and Government views and their total inaction in many instances.

    When anything goes wrong, social workers are to the scapegoats and then the Local Authorities, (LAs) while the Government, current and all previous have gotten off ‘scot- free’ to a verylarge extent.

    But, in many instances it is down to the extensive reductions of Government funding for LAs through the austerity cuts from 2010 which has led to all LAs extemely short of finance for all services in their control and social care is no exception.

    This has not only led to an extensive shortage of care workers, but also social workers, which then leads to those remaining to have forever increasing workloads on top of already excessive workloads causing much extreme stress and many other health issues, thereby causing even less working for much of the time, so more increasing workloads.

    All this leads to some errors to be made and these errors could well be life threatening as we have seen over the years. But is the state of the health of social workers taken into account, not as I see, but, of course the main consideration has to be the person requiring a social worker and their family. But blame needs to be placed not only to social workers and LAs, but even more so the Government. who should be mainly accountable, but never are, perhaps the Government and the Government ministers are too busy looking after themselves.

    Social care and all who work in social care so deserve so much more and not the pittances that this Government is offering. To most of the UK population a £million there and another £million somewhere is a large amount and it is. But, nowhere near large enough for £billions are required just for social care, let alone the NHS.

    Social care is and always will be, while it is around, an extremely needed emergency service, but is not recognised to be by the Government and to many in the UK.

    I say while it is still around for the state of social care is extremely serious and may not be around in any reasonable form, if at all for much longer.

    Social care needs the NHS as does the NHS need social care and when social care disappears the end will be nigh for the NHS, but many can’t see this.

    This is not ‘doomsday’ thoughts, but could well be reality, if this Government and all future Governments don’t fund social care completely.

    Families and their relatives are already suffering and have been for years, but still families are asked to do more. What more can they do for they are already saving care costs in the UK of £193 billion a year, up from £130 billion in 2015.

    The family carers are, as always, ignoring their own health and this leads to more social care and eventually more NHS care in the long-term.

    I am a former Family carer whose wife died 26 September 2020 and eventually my daughter who was receiving care on 4 October 2022, my own health has and is deteriorating and therefore I also need more care, but trying to not call on social care, as leaving it for others who need and deserve it more.

    My wife’s health deteriorated considerably over many years, while trying not to call on social care and also my own health. My daughter lived with me and was in receipt of 24/7 home care and she wanted for nothing as the carers who came were all excellent and could not have done more for it was her long standing conditions that were the cause of her demise, certainly not poor care, for her carers did all they could and so did the NHS when required. But her carers still blame themselves even though no more could have been done, this shows how so much they cared and most are still in contact with me to a large extent, even though they have their own lives to live and their families.

    They earned every penny they received and should have so much received more, but Government funding dictated that they couldn’t.

    Sorry for taking this away from Social workers who also deserve more, but care workers should be on at least £15 per hour and not the derisory National Living Wage of around £10 to be increased to £11 in April 2023. As the National Living Wage is wrongly named for it is so much not a living wage, even before deductions, a start would be making the taxable income level to be the National Living Wage, but even then it would fall short.

    So Government all social care needs so much urgent funding not next year, but now.

  3. A Man Called Horse February 1, 2023 at 1:22 pm #

    Social Workers are vilified & abused by the press & the government with no attempt to explain the complexities of what they do. They are an easy target & paying them badly is all part of the Tory plan to make them suffer along with the majority of poorly paid workers in slum house Britain.

    Social workers are dealing with more & more victims of Tory austerity. Many families are under huge stress & can’t even afford to live like human beings anymore. The Tories hate ordinary people & just want to make them suffer to enrich the 1% Levelling down is their plan, poverty for the masses. The answer according to hunt 100 billion of cuts & more austerity that no one voted for.

  4. Caz February 2, 2023 at 11:34 pm #

    So why are social workers not standing up to government or joining for a strike?
    The caseloads are ridiculous why do people who work in these conditions not say no? Why do they not stand up for themselves at the end of the day you do have to protect your own health and wellbeing.
    What is the reasoning I am slightly confused

  5. Love February 21, 2023 at 9:43 pm #

    Most social workers do not know how to say no.

  6. Nish Rahman March 1, 2023 at 12:45 am #

    Unions should put to members and ask if they want to join national strike action. I know I would support and join the strike.