Comment: DfE children’s services omnibus wave 5

Commenting on the DfE’s Children’s Services Omnibus Wave 5 Research Report, Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee said:

“This report provides valuable insight into a number of important areas for both local and national government to consider. The report highlights many concerns that the Association has been raising for some time around social work sufficiency, particularly the recruitment and retention of experienced social workers. Local authorities are doing innovative work to ensure they have a sufficient workforce but a national campaign which tackles longstanding stereotypes head on and clearly articulates that good social work can, and does, change lives would undoubtedly help with this. The report’s finding that 40% of local authorities lack confidence when asked if they have enough social workers to meet their needs over the next year is worrying, particularly given the context we are working in and the expected increase in demand for services when all children return to school in September.

“Most local authorities have joined their regional Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) as one element of their workforce strategy, in an attempt to improve the stability of the workforce, and to manage the cost and quality of agency social work staff. Where MoUs work well, they have delivered good outcomes for participating local authorities. However, there is definitely regional variation in the extent to which local authorities commit to the MoU, and providers of agency staff can be all too quick to exploit any lack of commitment to the principles, by pitting one local authority against another. This is unhelpful to local authorities trying to improve quality while keeping costs down, but the resulting workforce instability is - above all - damaging to children and to families, who tell us they really value continuity so they can build a relationship with their social worker. ADCS encourages all local authorities to participate in their regional MoU and to adhere to its principles.”

ENDS



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