Financial measures designed to attract and retain social workers have been approved by a council committee.
They include a £5,000 Golden Hello which is paid after adult care social workers join Milton Keynes Council.
And the council has now agreed to reimburse all 200 adult and children’s social workers the cost of their £90 per year fees to register with the Health Care Professionals Council.
The council’s Joint Negotiating Committee (Employers’ Side) was told on Monday (July 8) that the cost of both measures is more than covered by a reduction in the use of agency workers. The council says the measures are needed because of the difficulty in recruiting and keeping social workers, including competition from neighbouring councils, which have introduced measures to attract recruits.
The committee of four councillors took less than five minutes to agree to continuing with the Golden Hello, and to introducing the reimbursement of fees to 200 social workers. They had earlier held a 30-minute private meeting to discuss issues with the trades unions.
They agreed to monitor the impact of the Golden Hello, which was trialled from January to March, but so far they can see no evidence that it is a reason for current employees to leave the council.
Musrat Zaman, the council’s head of human resources, said the Golden Hello had proved so successful that 58 of 60 social worker vacancies had already been filled. The committee was told that the interest and number of appointments made so far this year “is on a scale not previously experienced within adult social at MK Council.”
This has lead to a £50,000 reduction in the council’s bill for agency workers, a situation that the authority expects will continue.
At the same time as the council is increasing the use of apprentices as a way of attracting and keeping talented people from Milton Keynes. They are hoping to develop a conveyor belt of talented people who will develop care careers and stay in MK.
The council is also hosting a recruitment event at the Central Library, in Silbury Boulevard, from 4-6pm on Friday, July 19, and 11am to 1pm on Saturday, July 20. They want to see people applying for roles across children’s and adult social care, including support workers, care assistants, drivers, re-ablement assistants, and relief staff.