To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's statistics on children's social work workforce, published on 24 February 2022, what steps he plans to take in response to those statistics that demonstrate an increase in the shortage of children's social workers.
8 March 2022
The number of full time equivalent (FTE) child and family social workers employed by local authorities in England is increasing every year. On the 30 of September 2021, there were 32,500 full FTE child and family social workers employed by local authorities in England. This is an increase of 2.0% compared to 2020, and an increase of 14.1% compared to 2017.
While the department recognises that this may not be the picture some local authorities are seeing on the ground, the department is working closely with local authorities and using central programmes and funding to respond to their needs.
The department is supporting the recruitment and retention of social workers through our investment in fast-track initial social worker training programmes, and in professional development programmes to improve leadership. We are also seeing some innovative practices from local authorities that are driving down agency rates and stabilising their workforces.
Our COVID-19 Recovery Action Plan aims to stabilise and strengthen children’s social care as we transition out of the COVID-19 outbreak, so we deliver well for children and young people and provide a strong foundation for longer-term reform, informed by the Care Review.