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Comment on social work workforce stats

Commenting on the latest DfE social work workforce ADCS President Steve Crocker said:

“The latest social work workforce statistics are deeply worrying but equally unsurprising given the pressures all local authorities are facing each and every day, not just in social work but across other areas such as residential care and early years settings. We now face a perfect storm of fewer social workers, a rapid rise in vacancies and consequently caseloads increasing. That said, these national figures will likely mask some significant variation across the country, particularly regarding caseload sizes. At the same time we have been seeing more social workers turn to agency work than ever before whilst the associated costs are spiralling. ADCS has long raised concerns about the significant recruitment and retention pressures in the system but this is now very clearly a crisis. The children and families who we support rely on a stable workforce with a consistency of worker who knows their story and can meet their needs. ADCS research shows that more children are coming into contact with children’s services, we must have a sufficient, permanent workforce that can meet this rise in demand.

“In its response to the Care Review, the government has committed to help improve social work sufficiency by recruiting additional social workers and making it a more rewarding profession. These measures, alongside the very positive proposals to mitigate the costs and use of agency social workers, are welcome. However, we urge the government to move at pace. These pressures are very real. As leaders of children’s services we would certainly support a national social work campaign similar to the government’s teacher recruitment efforts. I know from my own experience that social work is a rewarding career and good social work literally changes lives. The benefits of a strong and stable workforce for children and families cannot be understated. The government must take swift and meaningful action.”


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