Social work recruitment and retention

In 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) commissioned a major new longitudinal study tracking the careers of local authority child and family social workers in England over five years. The aim of this landmark new study is to collect robust evidence on recruitment, retention and progression in child and family social work. In particular it aims to establish a much stronger understanding of child and family social work recruitment issues, career pathways, choices and decisions and how these differ across different individual, job and employer characteristics.

The findings show that social work recruitment and retention remains problematic. Social workers report continued struggles to balance direct work and office-based tasks and a number have been particularly vocal about the impact of austerity on vulnerable families, and the implications for children’s social work.

A leaver (Leaver 25, page 97) is reported as saying:

Make the job easier by putting more money into public services, so people can
access services…You know, you reduce the problem at source rather than trying
to fix the problem as it’s gone further on. Then you start getting staff leaving
because it’s such a humongous task that you’re asking them to do.

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