A total of 21 London boroughs have agreed to unite and address issues around recruiting and retaining children’s social work employees.
London’s local authorities said they had experienced serious challenges in retaining permanent staff in such roles, resulting in the deployment of many agency employees.
The 21 boroughs have agreed to confront issues including pay, training, development, support and cost to improve the employment experience from both sides.
Barry Quirk, chief executive of the London Borough of Lewisham and the workforce lead for the Chief Executive’s London Committee (CELC), said: ‘Boroughs have recognised that a more collaborative approach is the best way forward, to improve the number and quality of social work professionals, whilst avoiding competition between boroughs which drives instability in service delivery, and additional cost.’
Will Tuckley, chief executive of the London Borough of Bexley and chair of CELC, said: ‘The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding by the boroughs signals our determination to work together to solve the recruitment challenges that we haven’t been able to solve individually.
‘We want to support social work professionals to have long and fulfilling careers as permanent employees enjoying great training, support and career progression in London. We are doing this so that children and families in London are safe and thrive with the assistance of dedicated and highly-skilled social work professionals.’
Tolis Vouyioukas, strategic director of people services of the London Borough of Sutton, added: ‘The workforce challenges in children's social care across London are considerable. This collaboration between local authorities and agency providers is vital in continuing to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care for vulnerable children.’