Council to pay more to boost recruitment

Durham
County Council social services has solved its chronic recruitment problems by
becoming the first in the UK to offer different salaries to social workers in
the same pay grade.

The
local authority is offering those who work with adults up to £25,911, and those
who work with families and children up to £28,320.

The
council is also attracting young talent by offering a £2,000 bursary scheme to
final year social work students, which commits successful candidates to
remaining with the authority for one year 
after qualification.

The
result of the recruitment initiative is a drop of 31 social worker vacancies
for children in need to only nine.

The
response to this single recruitment campaign has been unprecedented at the
council, and puts vacancy levels well below the national average.

The
changes came in response to persistent difficulties with recruitment and
retention, with vacancy rates in children and families’ fieldwork teams
averaging 22.3 per cent – almost double the national average.

Peter
Appleton, head of HR for social services at the council, said that a huge
vacancy list had been wiped out in one go, and this was a salutary lesson that
should be considered nationwide.

"The
key message is that we can no longer take a broad-brush approach to recruitment,"
he said. "We have to understand that all jobs are not the same."

Appleton
said that trade unions had asked for increases across the board, but the
council had made it clear that the lower level of vacancies did not merit this
approach.

"This
is a hard line, but a positive line, which we will keep under review," he
said.

By Michael Millar

Comments are closed.