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Almost 90 children’s social worker jobs need to be filled in Northamptonshire

Director for Children, Families and Education Alex Hopkins.

Director for Children, Families and Education Alex Hopkins.

A total of 89 experienced social workers are being sought to take over from agency staff in Northamptonshire’s children’s department.

The children’s department was rated inadequate by inspectors last year and employed large numbers of agency staff to help meet the high caseloads.

However temporary staff are expensive and so far this financial year the spend on agency staff is reckoned to be about £5.7 million.

Permanent staff cost about £3,000 a month compared with £5,000 a month for an agency worker.

But Alex Hopkins, director of children’s services, said the new recruitment campaign, targetting staff who can “hit the ground running”, was not propmpted only by finances.

He said: “The main driver is about commitment to the county.

“What we really need is social workers who are committed to the council and who can become part of the overall improvement that is going on.”

The children’s department hope to attract 60 social workers and 25 senior social workers, as well as some managers on a full time basis.

Some will be current agency staff who are willing to convert, but others will be from other counties.

Mr Hopkins said: “Our pay rates have been revised and they are now very, very competitive.

“People don’t normally offer relocation for frontline social workers, we have put that in to make it easier.

“But the third thing is that there’s a big professional challenege. Most people don’t go into socoial work for an easy life, they go into it to keep children safe.

“I think appealing to that professional desire to make a difference is a real biggy. I think pay and things is actually secondary.”

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