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Boroughs hail success of social worker recruitment deal

  • By Rosemary.Davenp...

London boroughs are hailing the success of an innovative deal to improve recruitment and retention of children’s social work professionals, which has been shortlisted for a Personnel Today Award.
 
The deal, known as a Memorandum of Co-operation, is helping 31 boroughs work together on issues such as pay, training and professional development.
 
It also helps them work with agencies to improve the quality of candidates and reduce costs, meaning more money is available for vital council services.
 
There are currently around 4,400 children’s social worker roles in the boroughs, of which around 950 are occupied by agency staff.
 
So far, London Councils’ Memorandum of Co-operation has led to 31 boroughs agreeing capped agency rates for all children’s social worker job types, removing the element of competition between boroughs, as well as a common reference template to speed up appointments.
 
They are also collaborating on enforcing employer standards set out by the government’s social work taskforce, which cover safe workloads, supervision requirements and continuing professional development.
 
Barry Quirk, Chief Executive of the London Borough of Lewisham and workforce lead for the Memorandum of Co-operation, said:
 
“London boroughs recognise that a collaborative approach is the best way of improving the supply and quality of children’s social work professionals, who have such an important role in caring for the most vulnerable young people living in the capital, while delivering value for money for the taxpayer. Our recruitment and retention practices must reflect these aims.
 
“The Memorandum of Co-operation is a unique example of employers joining forces to develop a shared workforce plan in an area where there is a significant skills shortage, and we are very pleased to have been shortlisted for an award as a result of this work.”
 
Cllr Doug Taylor, who leads on employment matters for London local government, said: “Local authorities working together add substantial value to making services effective and economic. This is a great example of HR making the service better and in doing so also saving costs.”
 
Personnel Today has shortlisted the Memorandum of Co-operation for the Award for Excellence in Public Service HR. The winner will be announced later this year.
 
For more information on the Personnel Today Awards, visit www.personneltoday.com/awards
 
For more information on the Memorandum of Co-operation, visit www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/node/4744/employers-networks/heads-human-resources/memorandum-co-operation-childrens-agency-social