Comment: Survey of social workers

Commenting on a survey of social workers by Community Care Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee, said:

“Children and families tell us that having a continuous relationship with their social worker really matters to them, so we welcome the news that more social workers are now expressing a preference for full time and permanent employment; this makes continuity more likely. Social workers also tell us that being able to build a relationship with families assists them in undertaking the critical work necessary to protect children and young people from harm and help families overcome the challenges they face. As leaders of children’s services we are absolutely committed to ensuring that social workers have the skills and support to enable them to do that work well, such as high quality, regular and reflective supervision, ongoing training and development opportunities. Although social workers are primarily motivated by a desire to make a difference in the lives of children and their families, many local authorities, working hard to recruit and, crucially, retain social workers have enhanced their employment offer by introducing flexible working patterns or offering sabbaticals. As this report shows, we need to pay attention to salaries too. All regions also have a Memorandum of Understanding in place. These are working well to drive down costs and prevent staff “churn” in the agency market, which may also contribute to social workers’ changed preferences. That said, each local authority faces its own challenges with recruitment and retention so any increase, however small, in social workers leaving the profession is a concern. We need more people who are well suited to the role to choose social work as a career and to want to stay.”


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