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ADCS President calls on government to restrict social work agencies

Steve Crocker has urged the government to ‘regulate or preferably ban’ social work agencies to prevent profiteering

Crocker says such intervention would save millions from the public purse as he claims “Private social work agencies are contacting our social workers, hoovering them up and then selling them back to us at twice the cost”.

He said “In a high stakes accountability regime, self regulation will always be impossible so I call upon government to help us by taking action in the public interest.”

In his speech to the ADCS annual conference he also warned that “Graduates being drawn to agency work almost straight out of university is a relatively new phenomenon. The worry is that this could compromise on quality as access to support, supervision and reflection are critical to excellent practice.”

The views have been supported by freedom of information findings covering 151 local authorities which identified the increasing numbers of councils commissioning managed teams of social workers and social work managers over the last five years.

Overall, 43 per cent of local authorities said they had commissioned a managed team between 2017 and 2022, amounting to a total cost of £41.1m across all councils.

Read the full speech here.