£5,000 ‘Golden Hello’ payments to experienced social workers set to continue in Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Council
Milton Keynes Council

Paying a £5,000 “Golden Hello” to experienced social workers to encourage them to join the city’s workforce is saving a small fortune for Milton Keynes Council.

A report being put to councillors on Monday, July 8 says the Golden Hello scheme, which was introduced as a three-month trial in January, has saved £50,000 on agency adult social workers during April and May.

The report, from Oliver Bannister, MK Council’s HR business partner, says that the scheme, promoted on social media, helped generate more than 100 job applications. Already, 13 experienced social workers new to the council have started, with another 11 in the pipeline.

“The interest and number of appointments made so far this year is on a scale not previously experienced within adult social at Milton Keynes Council,” he says.

The recruitment will eventually result in the council filling most of its 17 vacancies for full time experienced social workers, the report to the council’s Joint Negotiating Committee (Employer’s Side) says.

Mr Bannister’s report says there is little difference in terms of basic pay between MK and its neighbours in Luton, Bedford, Central Beds, and Buckinghamshire. MK pays an average of £33,547.37 for its adult social workers.

But there is a difference between the extras that other councils add on to make their positions more attractive.

Luton Borough Council offers a car allowance which means their most experienced social workers potentially earn £48,203 per annum, £10,151 more than a top of scale social worker at MKC.

In Buckinghamshire the council there recently introduced a ‘Golden Hello’ payment of £2,125 in addition to their salary of £34,322 – £38,097 and a 6 per cent annual enhancement.

Mr Bannister adds that introducing the scheme “may have a negative impact on the retention” of people already on the payroll but who do not get the money.

“Professional and career development opportunities for this staff group are being developed as a retention tool,” he adds.

In recommending that the scheme continues, Mr Bannister says Golden Hello payments have strict rules to encourage people to stay at the council. The payments are made over two years and anyone who leaves within that time is required to make a repayment.