Bright lights and job opportunities: Social work in the North West

High demand and great councils make the North West a region with plenty to offer social workers

Pic Credits: (top left) - Rex/EdRhodes/The Travel Library; (top right) - Rex; (bottom left) - Rex/Jonathan Player; (bottom right) - Rex/Matt West/BPI

Pic Credits: (top left) – Rex/EdRhodes/The Travel Library; (top right) – Rex; (bottom left) – Rex/Jonathan Player; (bottom right) – Rex/Matt West/BPI


The downturn has hit everywhere hard, but social care in the North West appears to have been hit harder than most.The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has talked of the North West suffering “disproportionately” in central government budget decisions, while figures from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy suggest that the region’s adult services have seen their funding slide faster than other parts of England.

Add to that high-profile scandals about sexual abuse of teenagers in Rochdale and overcharging of vulnerable adults in Wirral and it’s easy to think things are bad in the North West – but there’s plenty for the region to shout about.

When it comes to Ofsted inspections, local authority children’s social care has an impressive record with 25% of services deemed outstanding and 52% rated good. On top of that, councils such as Oldham have been devising new ways to mitigate against the spending squeeze to keep quality public sector services going.

The North West’s dense population also makes it a great place to build your social work career, adds Mike Shaw, regional manager for the north of England at social services recruitment consultancy Liquid Personnel.

“In the North West every local authority is pretty much on top of each other,” he says. “I know that if I travel half an hour one way or half an hour another way there’s 10 to 15 local authorities I could work for.

“The motorway links are fantastic too – it’s easy to get from the North West down to the West Midlands or up to Leeds if need be. That means the market is very competitive and social workers are offered good rates.”

It’s a situation that has led to councils such as Cumbria council offering social workers golden hellos of as much as £5,000 to join them.

Another plus is the benefits of living in the North West. From the great outdoors of the Lake District and the seaside charms of Blackpool to the bright lights of Liverpool and Manchester, the North West is a region that has something for everyone.

“I’m biased as I’m from Manchester, but I think it’s one of the finest cities around,” says Shaw.

Would you like to work in the North West? Find out more by reading our social work careers guide.

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