Peterborough Council details plans to reduce qualified social workers and replace them with Team Support Workers
Agency social workers are being replaced with ‘Team Support Workers’ at Peterborough City Council, it has emerged.
A report to the council’s cabinet members on children’s social care said that Team Support Workers will replace qualified social workers at a ratio of 3:2 so three TSW posts will replace two social work posts that are reduced.
Where social worker posts are reduced, it is assumed agency staff would leave first, the report says.
“TSW posts are assumed to work with a caseload of 15-20 children and young people,” said the report. “This provides them with the opportunity for significant intervention into families.”
The 12 month pilot scheme to fund 20 TSW posts is projected to cost £528,000 for the year.
The report highlighted that the average cost of an agency social worker is £71,00 a year and on 1 September there were 26 in post at a cost of £1,846,000.
Under the pilot to recruit 20 TSWs, social worker posts would reduce from 83 to 70. The full year cost is £3.56M, making a saving of £840,000 from the current baseline cost.
The plans follow an Ofsted inspection of Peterborough Council’s children’s services which found it needed to improve and recommended:
- Supporting initiatives to improve recruitment and retention of staff;
- Developing capacity in the Virtual School;
- Developing a Neglect Strategy and ensuring an appropriate response to neglect; and
- Investment in ICT infrastructure to enable accurate and real time performance reporting across the Children’s Social Care service.
The report also documented how social workers and team managers will be provided with laptops to enable them to record case notes and the number of team manager would be increased by two Full Time Equivalents so that in the event that a team manager leaves their post, it can be temporarily covered by a permanent member of staff.
Conference and Review chairs should also be re-graded to team manager status to enable them to ensure that child protection and care plans are progressed.
“To do nothing would see the continuation of the areas Oftsed have noted for improvement not being addressed and outcomes for children not being improved. Also there would be a continued increase in the spend on agency social workers,” the report concluded.