A targeted campaign to recruit high calibre, social workers to Wiltshire is seeing good results, with more than 180 permanent staff joining the organisation in just under two years.
Wiltshire Council responded to concerns over vacancy levels with a range of measures including lower caseloads in children’s safeguarding, clearer career pathways, greater support and more flexible working. Since the campaign began in August 2014, 181 social workers and managers have been appointed across children’s and adults’ services, lowering vacancy rates and reducing agency costs. The campaign has also had a positive impact with staff turnover almost halved in children’s services and retention of staff at 94% in safeguarding and assessment.
As part of the recruitment drive, the council introduced a market supplement for social workers in safeguarding and the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) children’s service areas of 10 or 15 per cent. A commitment to no more than 18 caseloads for newly recruited social workers in children’s safeguarding with newly qualified social workers (ASYE) having a more protected caseload Newly qualified social workers are given targeted support during their first year in practice while other initiatives include encouraging internal staff to consider a new career in social work and supporting qualified social workers who may be coming back into the profession after a career break through an innovative Return to Social Work scheme developed in-house. The recruitment and retention schemes are part of a structured programme of learning from the Wiltshire Institute for Health and Social Care – a virtual institute launched in September 2015 with health, social care and education partners. It has forged strong links with other councils in the region and local higher education providers including University of Bath, University of the West of England, Wiltshire College, University of Bristol and Bournemouth University through the development of a Teaching Partnership. Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children’s services said: “I’m really pleased to see our investment in this key service is bringing positive results. Our social workers play such a key role protecting those most vulnerable in our communities and it’s heartening to see the numbers rise in this important area.” Wiltshire Council corporate director Carolyn Godfrey, said: “The improvements we’ve made are having a positive impact on our services. We can never be complacent and our drive is for continuous improvement.”
Wiltshire Council corporate director Maggie Rae, said: “We want to recruit the best to ensure we provide the very best care and support and by making these improvements we are sending out a clear message that working at Wiltshire Council means you are valued and will be supported in this key role.”
For more detail people should visit http://jobs.wiltshire.gov.uk/