Social Workers: Recruitment and Retention - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:06 am on 16th May 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 11:06 am, 16th May 2019

I thank the noble Baroness for what is a very important Question. She is absolutely right that we have to ensure that we recruit and retain the social work workforce: it is vital and, like any employers, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that they have the right staff with the right skills. The Government also recognise that we have a role in supporting them. That is why we provide financial support to students who qualify as social workers. We make sure that those entering social work receive the best training possible, with some new programmes to support those who are newly qualified, such as the assessed supported year in employment, so that those who come in with quite a significant workload can be supported in their first year. We understand that high caseloads can be a challenge. Local authorities are responsible for the recruitment and deployment of social workers, but we work with them to think about how they can best manage the delivery of services and make caseloads manageable so that we retain those social workers who are vital to delivering care and support for some of the most vulnerable in our society.