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Local Authorities in the UK set to recruit 100’s of agency Social Workers to boost workforce numbers

Local Authorities are beginning the process of increasing their workforce with agency Social Workers as the need to support the sick and vulnerable with hospital discharge becomes clear. Local Authorities in Yorkshire and the Midlands have begun the urgent recruitment drive for 100’s of agency Social Workers to work across a number of roles as pressures to existing work-force spreads nationally.


This comes at a time where agency social workers were already a significant factor in the existing Local Authority work force. The Department of Education reported in February 2020 that in the 12 months to 30 September 2019, the number of locums employed by local authorities increased from 5,530 to 6,090.



By full-time equivalents, the rise in agency workers was 7% (from 5,356 to 5,754), and equated to a 1% uptick in the national agency worker rate across all councils, which stood at just under 16% as of 30 September 2019. This is set to grow exponentially in a bit to provide continuity of service against the back-drop of increased service demand and decrease of available staff due to working from home and self-isolation.


On 17/03/2020, the UK government announced proposals for the Coronavirus Bill which includes support for recently retired Social Workers to be re-registered with Social Work England to bring workforce easing. In Scotland these measures are further supported with Student Social Workers being temporarily made Social Workers.


On 17/03/2020, the regulator Social Work England announced that employers should ensure that ‘make sure staff are suitably equipped and have the right information to minimise the risk of transmission based on government guidelines.’.

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