Report shows shortage of social workers in Wales

A report published today by the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru highlights the significant shortage of social workers in Wales.

Almost 15% of social worker posts in Wales are vacant; the shortfall of children’s social workers is 18.6%.

The report also raises concerns about the retention of social workers, showing that many social workers move between local authorities, or do not stay in the profession at all. As a result, the report calls for increased wages for social workers, with a starting rate of £23,265, and better working conditions.

Tony Garthwaite, Bridgend Council’s Director of Personal Services, who chaired the group who wrote the report, stated: “We feel that the current approaches to recruitment and retention, which are based on competition through the use of incentives, need to make a fundamental shift to strategies which more fully reflect the reality of the labour markets which we in Wales are recruiting.

“We must create a culture whereby there is a feeling that staff are working for Wales Social Services.

“It is of little or no consolation for those users and carers not receiving an adequate service because of staff shortages to know that others in different parts of Wales are.”

Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Welsh mental health charity Hafal, said: “The effective recruitment and retention of social workers is key to the provision of high quality services. It is essential that the findings of this report are acted upon, and that social workers get a better deal – because that will mean a better deal for service users across Wales.”