The Drive for Recruitment and Retention for West Sussex

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The Drive for Recruitment and Retention for West Sussex

There is no denying that there is a national challenge to recruit and retain Children’s Social Workers. In 2017 the national vacancy rate was 17% with 68.7% of vacancies were being covered by agency staff.

With this in mind, West Sussex County Council has thought about how to approach recruitment and retention in social work and say #stepthisway to find out more.

West Sussex CC

A newly introduced element of their strategy is a £15,000 retention payment, spread over five years, within the areas of its service with the highest vacancy gaps and agency usage; including social workers, advanced practitioners, practice managers and group managers. The scheme launched on November 5th and is open to both current staff and to new starters, meaning that even more people are able to benefit from this drive to improve retention.

Initial internal feedback has been particularly positive, with 90% of eligible staff opting to join the scheme. November has also seen a record month, with applications to join them up 150% with the first new recruit already in place and working!

Their strategy is now more accurately a retention and recruitment one – targeting both aspects to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

The retention scheme is the culmination of two years efforts which has included introducing career progression schemes, hosting a Social Work Conference, developing blended teams, attending national recruitment events and developing a social media presence on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

To provide extra support for staff, a Casual Bank has been introduced which provides flexibility for those not looking for full time employment and can be called upon to relieve pressure in times of need.

As a result of these initiatives, the rate of external recruitment increased significantly.  On average the team have tripled their job applications and doubled their successful appointments.

Feedback from social workers was that having a stable management team, delivering robust and regular supervision was of particular importance to them; so WSCC have listened to this and working to stabilise the structure for their colleagues.

Looking to the future, an additional 37 social worker roles and 6 Practice Manager posts have also been created to reduce caseloads.  This together with the implementation of ‘blended teams’, which increases administration and Child & Family Workers within Social Worker teams, is reducing the pressure on the organisations existing social workers.

Sarah Daly, Head of Children’s Social Care, explained that “We have listened to what practitioners have told us and responded through pay and development incentives as well as the right support in place that enables them to spend more time with children, young people and their families”.

Visit for information on how you join the team and step this way.

Work and Care Together - London

We’re incredibly excited to have West Sussex County Council on board as our Main Partners for our upcoming convention “Work and Care Together: Educate. Collaborate. Innovate.” in London on Thursday 24th January 2019. An all-day event at the Park Plaza Riverbank, this will be a great chance for practitioners to come together and brainstorm creative solutions as a collective.

Practitioners will also have the chance to attend some of our 25 training sessions and workshops throughout the day, including:

  • A session from the Chief Social Worker
  • “From Transmission to Transformation: how using coaching enabled children’s social workers to enhance their practice and fulfil their vocational aspirations during a time of organisational crisis and rupture” by Suzanne Triggs, Doctoral Researcher and Social Work Lecturer
  • “Social Work England: An Introduction to the New Regulator for Social Work” from the team at Social Work England
  • “Gangs,County Lines and Criminal Exploitation” by Matt Hughes, Social Worker & Director of One Stop Social
  • “Health coaching for behaviour change” by Dr Penny Newman, NHS Innovation Fellow
  • A Seminar from the team at Research in Practice
  • “Storytelling – helping children and adults with additional communication needs to cope with change (covering introductions, routines, wishes and feelings)”
  • And many more…

Tickets are 100% free.

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