DfE to collect data on children’s social worker salaries

Councils will be required to submit figures on each practitioner's base salary and invited to provide data on bonuses and additional payments in annual workforce census in 2025

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The government will collect data on social workers’ salaries in its annual census of the local authority children’s services workforce in England.

Councils will be required to submit figures on each permanently employed practitioner’s base annual salary in next year’s census, for the 12 months ending 30 September 2025, according to guidance published this week by the Department for Education.

They will also have to provide information on whether they offer some or all of their social workers recruitment bonuses, retention payments, relocation packages, performance rewards, car allowances or regional weighting, or cover their Social Work England or Disclosure and Barring Service fees.

Councils may also supply data on recruitment and retention payments and additional top-ups to salary that they pay to individual social workers, though this is not mandatory.

The 2025 census will also see the removal of the voluntary collection of the institution social workers qualified through and local authorities’ assessment of their status against the DfE’s knowledge and skills statements – as a newly qualified or frontline practitioner, practice supervisor or practice leader.

The changes will not apply to the forthcoming census for September 2024, which will have the same dataset as the 2023 collection.

The DfE said collecting salary information would provide it with data to analyse the social worker labour market and assess the costs and benefits of the programmes it funds, while also supporting the public sector equality duty. This requires public bodies to promote equal opportunities for people with protected characteristics.

It is not clear how the DfE will report the salary information in its annual census report.

Data is already produced on the salaries of social workers in local authority adults’ services, through Skills for Care’s annual report on adult social care staff working for councils.

The latest figures showed that the real value of adult social workers’ wages has fallen progressively over time, with the average full-time equivalent pay in September 2023, £41,500, worth 7.2% less than the average in 2016.


9 Responses to DfE to collect data on children’s social worker salaries

  1. Sally May 2, 2024 at 8:46 am #

    Ha, the average adult sw full time pay -is 35k where I work. There’s always been a disparity within different councils how much your paid. Sw pay should be a universal salary accross all councils

    • Peter Teague May 2, 2024 at 10:52 am #

      Problems all started with Thatcher; leading to cost effectivity and taking the service out of Social Services.
      Became vogue to criticise the much maligned social worker, leading to no public sympathy. Thus negating the potency of any withdrawal of Labour.
      In other words, they have us over a barrel.

  2. Pauline O'Reggio May 2, 2024 at 10:20 am #

    I do not feel I am speaking out of term’s, but I belive the data will highlight that black,Asian and minority workers are unlikely to move past a certain pay scale and face more referrals for capability procedures.How many black,Asian or minority people reach the level of head of services again I may be wrong in my assumptions.

  3. Lynn May 2, 2024 at 10:43 am #

    I wish all these govt and local council departments, as well as regulatory bodies, acknowledged that a significant amount of social workers DON’T work for local councils. We don’t have a voice when these sort of surveys are conducted and are fed up with it being assumed that all social workers are employed by councils. We do not benefit from the, obviously pre-election, promises of increased resource funding and have never had our salary increments returned, but still have to keep up our CPD and registration with very little ability to access free training that is provided by some organisations.

    • Deb May 3, 2024 at 8:14 pm #

      Hear Hear. Cafcass is the biggest employer of social workers but moving to the MoJ has meant being restricted to civil service pay and thereforeseveral consecutive years of lower pay rises.

  4. Matt May 2, 2024 at 8:38 pm #

    Social Workers are as important to society as any other public sector professional. Arguably, we also have the most challenging and complex of jobs! Our Salaries deserve to be significantly bigger,

  5. Matthew May 3, 2024 at 3:52 pm #

    Why just a focus on Children’s Social Worker’s. There is also Adult Social Workers who work equally as hard.

    • Betty May 6, 2024 at 11:10 pm #

      It says in the article that this data is already collected through another mechanism

  6. Roryboy May 4, 2024 at 7:03 am #

    Matthew, I agree that most social workers work over and above their contracted hours. Social workers with C&F tend to be reported in the press negatively. We chose were we practice, we are not in competition with each other, we are colleagues. I am currently reading a book written by Paul Garrett, social work and common sense, it provides excellent evidence regarding the profession.

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