Children’s social workers recruitment and retention

1.What is the trend data for your Local Authority over the last three years in relation to the proportion of agency front line social workers (those holding cases) as opposed to front line directly employed workers; the average number of cases held by all front line workers; the turnover rate of both directly employed and also agency social workers?

The following data highlights the headcount for Agency and directly employed. This does not include management level roles.

Year Agency Directly Employed
2015 27 295
2016 29 275
2017 45 25


The average number of cases held is 19.6.

The turnover rate for directly employed as at:

2015 – 2016              14.0% turnover (40 SW leavers against 285 average headcount)

2016 – 2017               17.3% turnover (46 SW leavers against 265 average headcount)

 We do not monitor the turnover rate for agency therefore we do not hold that information. 
2. Do you have a strategic recruitment and retention plan for front line social workers? If so please provide a copy and any data that can support or otherwise it’s effectiveness in achieving it’s aims. Are you signed up to a regional memorandum addressing agency social workers? If so please provide a copy.

We do not hold a specific document that outlines the recruitment and retention plan for front line social workers. This element of activity features as part of several wider strategy documents. Strategic Recruitment & Retention plans are discussed at the start of the year with the Senior Management Team and priority areas of activity are agreed.

Devon County Council is signed up to a Memorandum of Cooperation with the South West Region. Please access it using the link provided. 
3. Last year HCPC estimated that it would process about 600 registration applications from foreign-trained social workers. Have you considered international recruitment. If you have not are there specific reasons why you have not pursued such an option given that children’s social work is on the government’s official shortage occupation list?

Devon County Council recruits internationally from this population and are a sponsor of migrant workers.
4. If you have recruited from outside of the UK can you please provide details of source countries and the numbers involved ideally broken down by those who have applied to you themselves and those you have recruited through an agency? How long has it taken to get such workers into post after interview? How many were registered to work in the UK (including the provinces) in advance of interview? What proportion have passed their probationary periods? What data do you have on retention rates for such social workers?

We have four social Workers recruited from outside of the UK that applied directly to the Council via a recruitment advert, two from South Africa, one from the USA and one from Kenya. It took three months from the assessment centre and interview to their start date in post. None were registered to work in the UK in advance of the interview. three have passed their probationary periods and one is still in probationary period. All four are still employed by the Council.
5. If you have recruited through an agency what fees and costs were involved? How did you comply with principles of procurement and in particular ensure best value? How many agencies were contacted and invited to bid? Were there any agencies who you knew provided such workers but were overlooked for such purposes? If you had a procurement specification(source country, post qualification experience, languages, registration situation etc.), please provide a copy.

The County Council has a contract with a neutral vendor organisation who manages a framework of agencies. We would use this portal in the first instance.
6. Which Officer (position and name if appropriate) takes lead responsibility for the recruitment and retention of children’s services social workers?

Samantha Mullins, HR Business Partner (Children’s Services)