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Cambridgeshire County Council considers pay incentives to help keep its social workers



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Financial incentives to try and keep people working in adult social care in Cambridgeshire are being considered in order to prevent a staffing shortage.

Cambridgeshire County Council is considering introducing a retention payment scheme for adult social workers, where it is seeing a high turnover of staff.

In a report produced ahead of an adults and health committee meeting next week (January 13), it said that some teams had reached vacancy levels of 32 percent.

Cambridgeshire County council is considering pay incentives to help retain social workers.
Cambridgeshire County council is considering pay incentives to help retain social workers.

The report said: “The impact of turnover in teams is significant, causing backlogs and delays to allocate services to meet need early and prevent escalation.

“It also puts additional pressure on social workers in the service, with high case-loads, resulting in reduced job satisfaction and stress, on occasion resulting in sickness and absences.

“When a vacancy is created there is often a gap whilst recruitment is undertaken, resulting in delays to casework being undertaken and appropriate and timely support being provided which leads to increased risks and cost.”

The teams planned to be covered by the payment scheme are; older people and physical disability; mental health; transfer of care team; learning disability partnership; and 0-25 including young adults team and children’s disability services.

Committee councillors will be asked to agree an investment of £302,000 for the scheme in 2022/23 and a further £152,000 in 2023/24.

Under the scheme social workers will receive a total of 20 percent of their starting salary, paid as three non-consolidates incremental payments over three years, followed by a fixed rate payment after that. Team managers will receive a fixed payment each year following one year’s service.

The county council has already introduced a retention payment scheme for its children’s social workers. The county council reported in November last year that staffing levels in its children’s services had reached a “critically low level”.

The report said that by opting to not implement the scheme for adult social workers will likely lead to increased staff turnover, which it said would result in “ever increasing” agency social workers costs and a reduced quality of service, and would expose the county council to a “considerable level of risk”.



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