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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Social workers offered £5k bonuses to move to west Cumbria

Social workers are being offered bonuses of up to £5,000 just to move to west Cumbria.

It follows difficulties attracting experienced staff to Workington and Whitehaven. Cumbria County Council is offering the extra payouts to those willing to commit to the area for a minimum of three years.

Child protection services in Cumbria have been previously labelled as “inadequate” by watchdog Ofsted.

The authority has since said it is committed to making major improvements, including improving staffing.

But there are currently 10 vacancies in west Cumbria it is struggling to fill. The council is therefore offering “appointment bonuses” of £4,000, or £5,000 for team leaders, to successful candidates, on top of the relocation package.

The money will be paid once they have been in post for three months, and must be repaid if they then decide to leave within three years.

Lyn Burns, assistant director Children’s Services, said: “Protecting vulnerable children is a council priority. We have faced a number of challenges over the past few years, with reducing budgets and an Ofsted inspection which found our safeguarding services to be inadequate.

“The council has allocated funding so that we can recruit an additional 10 social workers.

“We’ve had a rolling programme of advertising which has been successful, and we have recruited 14 social workers from outside Cumbria and promoted 12 internally into senior roles. However, we still have vacancies in west Cumbria and need experienced social workers to fill them.”

The vacancies include two team manager posts, with a salary of about £40,000 before any appointment bonus. The enhanced social worker positions are advertised with salaries of £30,000 to £33,000.

Mrs Burns said the problem is specifically recruiting experienced staff from outside the area to west Cumbria. She hopes the bonuses will address that, as has happened in other parts of the country.

“We believe it is appropriate to offer this package so that we can address the specific recruitment issues in west Cumbria. Other councils in England, for example Norfolk, have taken similar approaches for hard-to-recruit areas.

“We have a good relationship with the University of Cumbria and have no problem recruiting newly qualified staff, but specifically require experienced social workers to join our team in the west of the county,” she added.

Have your say

@ Sam, newly qualified are meant to be mentored through the first year, so the buck stops with their senior.This has been introduced recently to ensure service users get the best quality of support. Bear in mind also , that many of the newly qualified have many years of experience, some of whom have actually been carrying out at a social workers role with out the title/pay. I think for the sake of local economy , monies taken out of the pot to fund this scheme will reflect on the services available for vulnerable children and adults.

Posted by Marie on 26 February 2014 at 12:56

People don't want to live and work in West Cumbria shock!

It's hardly a case of man bites dog is it? For all the attraction of the Lake District it hardly makes up for having to go to Cleator Moor.

Posted by Nick on 26 February 2014 at 10:34

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