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Efforts to attract more children's social workers

9 July 2018 in Health and Mayor and Young people
Newham Council’s Cabinet have asked that a package of support be looked at that could attract much needed social workers to the borough with the specialist skills in dealing with children and young people.
Council officers will now look at the full financial and legal implications of a raft of proposed recruitment and retention measures. These include reviewing and expanding the housing offer for key workers, an improved relocation offer and travel assistance package, a salary and rewards package that includes increased market supplements, and better career development opportunities.

T
he proposed measures were initially drawn up as part of an Overview and Scrutiny Commission recruitment and retention investigation chaired by Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz when she was a councillor in the previous council administration.

In her foreword to the commission’s final report she praises children’s social workers for the “pivotal role” they play in helping young people to “achieve their potential through diminishing the stigma of being in care”.

Councillor Canon Ann Easter, the new lead Scrutiny member for children and young people, told Cabinet on Tuesday: “The recruitment and retention of children’s social workers has become an increasingly challenging issue for local authorities at a time of increased demands on children’s social care whilst having vastly reduced resources.

“The Scrutiny Commission sought to identify examples of best practice and successful initiatives introduced by other local authorities. This was supplemented by external visits to speak with experts and professionals as well as listening very carefully to the views of current social workers in Newham.

“It is not just money that is being offered. Research has demonstrated that being appreciated by managers, continuous personal development and a sense of shared ownership of tasks all help to encourage workers to feel satisfied and happy in their employment. All those things we hope will help with the recruitment and retention of social workers here.”

The committee heard that approximately 20 per cent of current posts are filled
with staff who are agency workers. Councillor Julianne Marriott, Cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This issue is clearly a concern to us all and we welcome the Scrutiny Commission’s report. We will look at all the complex legal and financial implications if these recommended measures are to be accepted. We will bring them back to Cabinet to decide which we can take forward."