The Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council are calling for action to be taken by the council to recruit and retain more Social Workers in the County. The need for action follows an inadequate rating by Ofsted inspectors of Surrey’s Children’s Services in a report published last month.

There is also a growing need for Social Workers to protect vulnerable adults with an increasingly ageing population in the County.

Cllr Fiona White, Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats on Social Care said: “ The protection of vulnerable children and adults must be a top priority of the County Council. The recent Ofsted inspection report of Surrey’s Children’s Services identified “widespread and serious failures that potentially leave children at risk of harm”.  Adult Social Care Services are also struggling to meet the demand for services with an ageing population.”

Cllr White continued: “Although shortages of Social Workers is a nationwide problem, it is more acute in Surrey given the County’s high cost of living and proximity to London. The consequence is that the County Council has high vacancy rates for Social Workers and is over-reliant on costly agency staff to deliver services to vulnerable people. If the County Council can recruit more Social Workers it will improve the service as the workload of Social Workers will be reduced.”

Cllr White added: “The County Council has to do everything possible to get its fair share of Social Workers. To achieve this, the Council has to ensure that Social Worker pay is competitive with neighbouring councils, it has to carry out recruitment campaigns, recruit Social Work graduates from Universities throughout the UK, provide key worker housing and relevant training.”

Cllr White concluded: “For far too long the Conservative administration at County Hall has put the recruitment and retention of Social Workers in the too difficult box. That approach has to come to an end. It is time for action if Surrey is to have the Social Workers that it desperately needs.” 

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