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New survey adds to call for a rethink on plans to curb agency social workers

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has released results of a new survey which suggests social workers employed by agencies will leave the profession if the government implements proposals to reduce the use of freelance staff.

Four in ten children’s social workers who work as temps through agencies said that they would leave the profession entirely if proposed government reforms go ahead. They predict the impact of the plans will see colleagues quit and children receive worse care.

There are around 6,800 agency workers in children’s social care services, according to Department for Education (DfE). But the government wants to save money by making it less attractive and harder for social workers to work through agencies.

Kate Shoesmith, REC Deputy Chief Executive, said:

“The survey adds to our call on government to fundamentally review these proposals. Social workers turn to agencies primarily to help them manage their work/life balance. We need to recognise the reasons why social workers make this choice and then we, the recruitment sector, will happily work with government and others on better solutions than the ones in this consultation.

“The loss of agency staff in anything like the proportion indicated by this survey will give vulnerable children even less chance of getting the care they need.”

“Half of the agency workers who responded and said that these reforms would make them leave the profession, are over 46 years old. This is a blow to a government that is keen to retain over 50s in the workforce to help overcome labour shortages and grow the economy.”

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Published on 19th May 2023