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Nearly 300 Suffolk social workers to receive pay rise in £1.4m investment

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 April 2020

Mary Evans, Conservative cabinet member for children's services said now more than ever social workers need to be retained. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Mary Evans, Conservative cabinet member for children's services said now more than ever social workers need to be retained. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Plans have been approved to pump £1.4million into increasing the pay of dozens of social workers in Suffolk, to combat vast numbers leaving for other counties.

Labour children's services spokesman Jack Abbott said the situation needed to be reviewed so that a gulf of pay between Suffolk and other Anglian social workers didn't happen again. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNLabour children's services spokesman Jack Abbott said the situation needed to be reviewed so that a gulf of pay between Suffolk and other Anglian social workers didn't happen again. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk County Council’s chief executive Nicola Beach approved the investment last week while the council’s cabinet is unable to meet, and will apply to nearly 300 social workers in the council’s children’s and young people’s services.

MORE: Suffolk’s social care for children among finest in UK, report says

Those pay increases will range between 4% and 23% depending on which band they work in, with some set to receive an increase of £4,000 a year.

A report by the council said that most authorities top up the basic pay rate with additional payments such as welcome grants, market forces supplements or retention bonuses, which was why staff were leaving to other nearby authorities such as Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Mary Evans, Conservative cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I am pleased that we are able to provide this pay rise for social workers in our children’s services.

“Suffolk’s services for children and young people have been recognised by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’ and social workers played a huge part in this through excellent practise and their commitment as a workforce.

“I spoke in the council’s budget debate in February about our policy to upgrade pay and holiday leave for our children’s social workers.

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“Now more than ever they are working extremely hard to protect and safeguard vulnerable children in Suffolk.

“There is a long standing, national shortage of social workers for children’s services and we have worked hard to ensure we stay in line with others in the region in terms of the pay and conditions we offer to these staff.

“We are keen to retain and recruit excellent social workers to sustain our outstanding service. This improved offer to our social workers will be effective from April and funded through council reserves.”

It is hoped that as well as helping retain workers it will also ease workload pressures as more staff will be available to share the caseload.

Councillor Jack Abbott, Labour spokesman for children’s services at the council, said: “For too long Suffolk’s social workers have been underpaid with far better salaries and reward packages on offer elsewhere in the Eastern region.

“As a result, we have seen a number of dedicated and talented social workers leave the county.

MORE: Suffolk’s children’s services rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted

“We should want to recruit and retain the best social workers so it is right that their pay will now increase to bring Suffolk closer in line with our neighbours.

“I hope that Suffolk County Council will continue to monitor and review the pay of its social workers to ensure that such a disparity doesn’t open up again.

“Now, more than ever, we are grateful for the people working in our public services – their pay should start better reflecting their incredible contribution to our society.”


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