ADCS response: child and family social worker workforce...

Responding to the child and family social worker workforce consultation Steve Crocker, ADCS President, said:

“We have been urgently calling for coordinated, national action to help manage this market so that it works for local authorities and, crucially, children and young people. ADCS welcomes this consultation on tackling the rising costs of agency social workers and improving quality assurance. It includes a range of sensible proposals but the timeline for implementation is too long, we cannot wait 15 months for change and urge government to progress the changes even more quickly. Local authorities are facing real recruitment and retention challenges now, particularly amongst our social workers which, in the short term, is leading to an increasing reliance upon agency staff to help us meet the growing levels of need we are seeing across our communities. At the same time, we are seeing increasingly aggressive recruitment tactics being employed by agencies to attract our staff and the costs of buying back their services spiralling.

“Our children and young people tell us that they benefit from having a consistent worker who knows them and their story. The significant churn in the workforce and the increasingly short-term nature of agency social work placements makes this harder to achieve. We have also seen a rise in the use of ‘project teams’ of workers which can often be the only option made available to us by agencies, even when only one or two social workers are needed.

“Whilst this announcement is a positive step, we also need to see bold efforts from government to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis we all face in public services. There are multiple factors at play, from the cost-of-living crisis offset against a backdrop of annual public sector pay freezes and more children and families coming into contact with children’s services. We must promote the value of this transformative profession and the lasting impact this can have on children and families.”


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