Council tackles social care staff crisis

A range of ambitious schemes have helped North Lanarkshire Council to
address Scotland’s social worker recruitment crisis.

Tax-free lump sums of £5,000 to attract and retain staff have been a
short-term solution, strengthened by imaginative training and recruitment
schemes.

"In a fiercely competitive job market, we were at our wits’ end trying
to recruit social workers," said Jim Dickie, director of social work.
"This has led us to introduce new initiatives."

The cash incentive also enabled the council to rapidly recruit 56 employees,
bringing numbers up to a respectable level.

It is offered on the basis that staff stay for three years, and was also
awarded to existing staff.

The council has continued recruiting university graduates studying
three-year distance learning courses for social work diplomas. Training will
eventually be extended to a four-year course, enabling trainees to work in
different department areas.

Unqualified staff also have the chance to train for professional
qualifications. The schemes have enabled the council to cut its social worker
vacancy rates from 30 per cent to 5 per cent.

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