Social Worker Recruitment Offering in Kent 'Golden Hellos'

Kent County is taking drastic measures to recruit more social workers and bring down its backlog of unassigned cases, by offering 'golden hellos' worth £2,000 to new recruits. 

The local authority's social care services recently suffered a damning report from Ofsted, which heavily focused on their dwindling recruitment efforts had left 2,700 at-risk children without assigned social workers. 

The council's cabinet member for children's services, Jenny Whittle, said that they had already instigated new recruitment measures that had already seen enough new staff taken on to reduce the backlog to 71. 

"The figure for the number of children who haven't been allocated a social worker within 28 days is now down to 71 - but obviously I'd like to get that down to zero," she said. 

While some staff were taken on as interim workers, the council's intention was to recruit a strong team of knowledgeable and confident workers who "are going to have to live with the decisions they take." The lucrative golden hellos - as well as a system of retention payments - are being offered to newly qualified social workers who are willing to move to Kent on a permanent basis to address the long-standing recruitment problem. 

Geoff Newman from online recruitment agency believes the social work sector has many problems that can’t be rectified with financial incentives.

“It’s true that social workers are financially undervalued so measures such as those by Kent County Council will bear some fruit. However the sector faces structural problems such as a lack of training and staff willing to enter the sector. These problems are compounded with a lot of immigrants leaving the UK who were previously a reliable source of labour.

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