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Friday, 24 October 2014

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£5,000 bonuses to lure social workers

BONUSES of £5,000 are being offered to attract social workers to Copeland.

By Julie Morgan

Extra payouts are being offered to those willing to stay in the area for a minimum of three years to help protect the area’s vulnerable children.

Cumbria County Council is looking to fill 10 vacancies across West Cumbria after the its child protection services were labelled “inadequate’’ by Ofsted. The council says it is committed to making improvements.

Lyn Burns, assistant director of Children’s Services, said “Protecting vulnerable children is a top priority. We have faced a number of challenges over the past few years, with reducing budgets and an Ofsted inspection which found our safeguarding services to be inadequate. The council has allocated funding so that we can recruit an additional 10 social workers.

“We’ve had a rolling programme of advertising over recent months which has been successful, and we have recruited 14 social workers from outside Cumbria and promoted 12 internally into senior roles. However, we still have vacancies in West Cumbria and we need to recruit experienced social workers to fill them.”

Starting salaries range from £28,127 a year and up to £32,072; team manager posts are £39,351 to £40,254 and the enhanced social worker posts are £30,311 to £33,128.

Team leaders would also be paid a special bonus of £5,000 and social workers £4,000, once they had been in post for three months and which is repayable if they leave within three years. Successful applicants would also be offered a ‘generous’ relocation package.

“We believe it is appropriate to offer this package so we can address the specific recruitment issues in West Cumbria. Other councils have taken similar approaches for hard to recruit to areas,’’ Mrs Burns added.

“We have a good relationship with the University of Cumbria, and we have no problem recruiting newly-qualified staff, but we specifically require experienced social workers in the west of the county.”

The vacancies are in the Children Looked After team (fostering, adoption, residential care and children leaving care), Children and Families team (support for children and families in need) and Child Protection team (protecting children and young people at risk from neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse).

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