Trained social workers are being poached by rival local authorities which are prepared to pay them more, a meeting heard.
And now Bucks County Council is looking at recruiting social workers from overseas to plug the gap in its failing children’s social services department.
The findings of a recent Ofsted inspection of BCC children’s services, which resulted in the department being rated as ‘inadequate’, were discussed by BCC cabinet members on Monday.
Children’s services cabinet member Angela MacPherson said staffing levels for social workers were “a particular area of concern”.
Chief executive Chris Williams said staff are being poached by other local authorities, and BCC is looking into embarking on a major overseas recruiutment campaign.
“Partly there’s a national shortage of social workers, but also, because we’re so close to London, we’re in a very competitive market and other authorities are increasing their remuneration levels and poaching our staff.
“So we have a very good recruitment programme, pushing people through Bucks New University and training our own social workers, but then after six months or so of training, they’re actually able to get a higher paid job elsewhere.”
Buckingham county councillor Robin Stuchbury said: “My concern is how recruiting from overseas is cheaper. Surely there would have to be a relocation package and it would be cheaper to pay the staff more in the first place. Bucks is an expensive place to live and they should be paying the going rate for the job.”