Internationally trained social worker employment

Have you strategically (as opposed to individual applications) recruited internationally-trained social workers over the last three years? If so, how many from which countries?

Broken down by year what is the retention rate?

Did you recruit yourselves or did you use an agency? If you used an agency what fees did you pay per social work? If you do not want to be specific please indicate if it was less than £3500 per SW, £3500 -£4000, £4000-£5000, £5000+++?  

Since October 2017, Devon County Council has conducted one recruitment campaign to attract internationally trained social workers into Children’s Social Care, with start dates in December 2019 and January 2020.

We recruited 12 candidates from the following countries:

Canada – 1

South Africa – 1

Australia – 1

India – 1

Zimbabwe – 8

Of the 12 candidates offered a post with us two candidates did not start, and two candidates have since left the authority.

The Council conducted all international recruitment in-house and did not use any external agency for this campaign.

Are you considering international social worker recruitment over the next 12 months? If so, how many SWs do you have in mind and from which source countries? Who takes the lead on retention and recruitment in this respect?

Whilst there are ongoing discussions, there are currently no firm plans to recruit internationally for social workers over the next twelve months. This situation is kept under review and will be highly dependent on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The recruitment of international social workers is managed by the Children’s Social Care workforce development team, working in collaboration with the Council’s recruitment team and wider HR function.

Please see

Click on developing countries and you get a list of nations where it is considered unethical to recruit and also unethicql to recruit via agencies that have engaged with SWs from such countries. I have also attached a rather old Code of Practice concerning international recruitment
endorsed by many agencies including ADSS as it then was, Skills for Care, GSCC etc. Whilst there was no death certificate so to speak the principles are sound even if the legislation is a little dated but the Code seems to not be known by those currently responsible for international recruitment. You will not there is a Code concerning recruitment of teachers.

Does your LA have a policy on ethical recruitment? Please provide it and any monitoring outcomes.

What is your current position on recruiting from a country such as Zimbabwe where the situations seems to have never been as bad as is currently the case with extreme poverty and two thirds of the population dependant on food aid. Zimbabwe needs its social worker more than ever as do a number of countries where the situation has been exacerbated by COVID.

Devon County Council does not currently have an ethical recruitment policy – the policy supplied applies to NHS employers only.

Any overseas recruitment campaign will seek to attract and appoint the best candidates for the role, as with any vacancy within the authority. In line with the Equality Act 2010, we do not discriminate against applicants for any post on the grounds of national origin or any other protected characteristic.

What proportion of your frontline child protection SWs are currently employed on an agency basis? What is the approximate average hourly cost of such agency SWs and directly employed SW (including on costs)?  

29.8% of our children’s social care workforce is made up of agency or casual workers (excluding Adopt South West and Fostering).

The average hourly cost to Devon County Council for an agency social worker is £43.43. This includes all staff in children’s social work teams (excluding Fostering and Adopt South West) up to Area Manager level.

The average hourly cost to Devon County Council for employed social workers is £25.55, inclusive of employer’s NI and pension contributions.

Please send a Who does What structure chart of your children’s services department.

Children’s Social Care structure chart is publicly available on the Devon County Council public website