Children’s social workers on the Isle of Wight are to continue to receive a market supplement on top of their salaries to bring their pay in line with social workers elsewhere in the region.
Councillors agreed to allocate an additional £500,000 for the salary enhancements at last night’s Cabinet meeting (Tuesday 14 February). The market supplement was introduced in 2010 to address recruitment issues that were impacting on the quality of social care on the Island.
Since bringing pay in line with the rest of the South East region, the council has attracted more social workers to the Island and staff turnover has reduced considerably.
The department has improved significantly with a decline in the number of looked after children on the Island, a reduction in mainland placements and decreased number of children on child protection plans. The number of initial assessments completed within the timescale has also risen. These improvements were noted by Ofsted which inspected the department last year, noting it was ‘positive and optimistic’ for the future of the service.
An internal restructure to adopt the Reclaiming Social Work model of social work has also had a positive impact on the department. The vacancy rate is at its lowest rate within recent history and staff turnover is low.
The report considered by the cabinet highlighted the risks of removing the market supplement, including losing a large number of staff, an increase in sickness and a reduction in good-will and commitment to the service. It also explained that the removal of the market supplement could lead to an increased use of agency staff which is both costly and, although of a good standard, can have a detrimental impact on case planning and can lead to families working with several case workers rather than a single point of contact.
Councillor Dawn Cousins, cabinet member for children’s services and education, said: “Since we introduced the market supplement for children’s social workers we have seen a marked increase in performance and quality. We remain committed to driving up standards within children’s services and are pleased to invest in our social work team which is making a real difference to families on the Isle of Wight.”
The cabinet paper can be viewed via this www.iwight.com/council/committees/cabinet/14-2-12/Paper%20F.pdf link.
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