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Wed, 06 Jul 22 11:59

Comment: Analysis of social work sufficiency

Commenting on analysis of social work sufficiency in LAs, Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee said:

“This latest analysis of the Department for Education’s social work workforce statistics further highlights the significant recruitment and retention challenges faced by local authorities. The whole of the children’s workforce, including social workers, have worked tirelessly in the most difficult of circumstances over the past two years and these findings demonstrate some of the pressures under which social workers have operated.

“We know that higher performing local authorities typically enjoy greater workforce stability, with on average lower sickness absence rates and caseloads, as this analysis shows. However, Ofsted’s use of a single word judgement for a complex set of services and differing local contexts tells at best a partial story and even risks weakening the very services the inspectorate seeks to improve. That said, some local authorities do succeed in maintaining or restoring stability, despite a negative inspection outcome and many staff will stay and play their part in bringing about positive change. We should be learning from these successes to see what measures can be applied more widely.

“Local authority children’s services face significant recruitment and retention challenges and we need more support from government to improve workforce stability. ADCS urges the Department for Education to launch a national campaign to promote the value of social work, which clearly articulates that good social work helps change lives for the better. By building on the innovative work local authorities are doing, a national campaign would undoubtedly help increase the workforce and relieve pressure on social workers. We would also encourage the Department for Education to build into their response to the upcoming Care Review other measures to enhance workforce stability through better retention of social workers and other shortage occupations across the children’s workforce.”

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