Devon’s Cabinet backs plans to boost social worker recruitment

County Hall

Posted on: 8 September 2021

A £3.4 million package of measures to recruit and retain high quality social workers to help and support Devon’s most vulnerable children has won the backing of council leaders.

Devon County Council’s Cabinet today approved the plans to deal with a significant shortage of children’s social workers in some key areas.

The new measures include better pay for key roles, retention payments, more administrative support to free up social workers to focus on doing direct work with children and families, and expanding training schemes and workforce development.

The package will cost £1.1 million this year – which will be funded from reserves – and £3.4 million in a full financial year.

Devon’s new chief officer for children’s services, Melissa Caslake, told the Cabinet:

“Our ambition is to achieve excellent outcomes for all our children and these measures are aimed at establishing a stable, permanent and excellent workforce.

“There is a national shortage of social workers, which has become intense, and we are struggling with recruiting the right numbers of permanent staff.

“We have high ambitions for children and young people in Devon and can only achieve this if we have sufficient, high-quality, permanent social workers and managers to work with families.

“Financial remuneration is important, but we must also create high quality continuing professional development, support and supervision where staff stay with us to progress their careers.

” We can achieve excellent outcomes for children and young people through relationships with them and their families and we are investing in ways of working to achieve this, including this range of measures to retain our existing workforce and recruit more new, permanent staff.”

Devon’s Cabinet member for children’s services and schools, Andrew Leadbetter, said:

“I promised when I took on this job earlier in the year that we would be doing everything in our power to make Devon a place where social workers want to come and help us provide an excellent service to our most vulnerable children and families.

“We are determined to provide the best possible help and support we can to the children who need it most and this comprehensive package of measures is a big step towards achieving that ambition.”

Devon Labour leader Rob Hannaford, who chairs the county council’s children’s scrutiny committee, said:

“I welcome and support this comprehensive set of proposals to ensure we have the right amount of staff.

“It’s a good start for the new team in children’s services.”

Posted in: Politics