City Hall leaders are today warning that the Covid pandemic, rising demand for aid and cuts in Tory funding are causing a staffing crisis
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The number of social workers leaving their jobs has hit a five-year high, raising fears children are being put at risk.
City Hall leaders are today warning that the Covid pandemic, rising demand for aid and cuts in Tory funding are leading to a staffing crisis.
Government figures show the number of child and family social workers leaving in 2021 was 4,995, a 16% increase from the previous year.
The number of vacancies is also at its highest level in five years, with 6,522 vacancies as of September 30, 2021, up 7% year-on-year.
But the Department of Education said the move could cover staff moving to another council rather than leaving the profession entirely.
It is alarmed by several high-profile cases of child abuse during lockdown, including the deaths of 16-month-old Star Hobson and 6-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Youth Committee, said: “Councils are facing a staffing crisis in childcare and are finding it increasingly difficult to hire and retain child social workers, something which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Unless this pattern is quickly reversed, children will ultimately be at greater risk.”
Shadow Education Secretary Helen Hayes accused successive Conservative governments of accepting failing child services.
“The Tories have treated our children as an afterthought and their consistent failure to support local authorities is now creating a dangerous staffing crisis in a system already under enormous strain,” she said.
“The recent tragic cases appear to have done very little to sensitize ministers to the social services emergency they have created.”
The DfE said the number of social workers increased from 28,500 in 2017 to 32,500 in 2021.
A spokesman said: “There are now more social workers in the profession than ever before and exit figures include those who move to another council so are not indicative of social workers exiting altogether.
“We support councils in recruitment and retraining by funding fast-track training and helping new social workers get off to a good start in the profession.
“We are making £4.8billion in new grants available to councilors to help keep essential frontline services running, including children’s social care. The ongoing independent review of child social care will also address the challenges faced by the sector.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/warning-number-childrens-social-workers-26378500 Warning as number of child social workers leaving roles hits five-year high