Rotherham breaks recruitment barriersPublished Wednesday, 18th January 2017
A recruitment drive to get more social workers into Rotherham has been heralded a success – despite the odds being stacked against it.
Social workers are like gold-dust because there is a national shortage, and Rotherham has been no exception to this phenomenon.
But now the tables are turning as a recent high-profile recruitment drive has started to bear fruit.
Since April last year, Rotherham Council has successfully recruited 67 new members of staff working at all levels in social care services from heads of service to newly qualified social workers roles, saving to date £850k in terms of agency spend.
Now there is a further push to recruit to the remaining posts, with a special job fayre being held in the town this weekend.
Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services at Rotherham Council said: “Rotherham’s story is one that has been well played out in terms of our situation with child sexual exploitation. So not only were we having the same struggle as other local authorities to recruit to permanent social work positions; but our problem was exacerbated by the fact that we were where we were and no one wanted to come and work here
“Having permanent staff gives a solid foundation to the work you are doing, while at the same time is better for the families we are dealing with. On top of this spend on agency staff is much more expensive, which is far from ideal, especially when the Council has less money to spend than ever before.”
However, the solution was not just a case of replacing agency with permanent staff, he added. A whole new way of working had to be established in order to prove Rotherham to be an attractive offer, so a radical overhaul of the service was commissioned.
Now the Council boasts some of the lowest caseloads in the country, with social workers having an average of 15 cases each. Teams have been moved into localities so they can work better with partner agencies and families. And on top of this there are now smaller teams and more team managers, with better governance structure all the way to the top of the Council.
Alongside this pay has been reviewed to make Rotherham more competitive and extra benefits – like relocation fees – have been included in lucrative packages to attract people to the town along with continuous personal development now in place for all social workers.
Further investment in social care practice include a 15 day training offer for Signs of Safety, using action research to help embed learning. And this year all social workers will be trained in “restorative practice” approaches which comes as the Council also invests in new edge of care services such as Adolescent Response as well as Family Group Conferencing.
The Council’s new integrated early help offer has also been rated as good or outstanding by families in receipt of the service and additional therapeutic support is being made available for children with behavioural challenges and they have a number of Innovation bids under development.
“This is an exciting time to join Rotherham and we are looking for people who are passionate about improving life chances for children,” added Mr Thomas. “Choosing us is an investment in your career.”
Anyone interested in joining Rotherham at this pivotal time should come and meet the key players later this week at a special jobs fayre being held at the Council’s Riverside House headquarters on Main Street, Rotherham from 10.00 am – 2.00 pm this Saturday, January 21. For more information visit the website or contact the recruitment team via the details below.