Recruitment and retention strategy Safeguarding and Social Care Division. What is the recruitment and retention strategy? 2. How was it developed?

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2 Contents What is the recruitment and retention strategy? 2 How was it developed? 2 Newcastle story where were we? 2 Newcastle story where are we now? 3 Grow your own scheme 4 Progression 4 NQSW support package 5 Recruitment of experienced staff 5 Retention of quality staff 6 Learning and development 6 Newcastle Staff Well Being programme 8 1

3 What is the recruitment and retention strategy? This strategy is specifically to look at how we recruit excellent social care staff, and retain those staff. It looks at how we ensure we are an employer of choice. We consistently achieve excellent results through the commitment and motivation of hard working staff. The strategy aims to improve existing recruitment and retention practices through a holistic, strategic approach to brand Newcastle Children s Services as an employer of choice and enable us to compete more effectively for staff in the marketplace. How was it developed? This strategy builds on a previous recruitment and retention strategy introduced in It will show what we have implemented and how we can continue to improve. A review was undertaken of the Newcastle offer for social workers including: Communication of offer Advertising, identity and marketing campaign Recruitment process Provision of practice placements and encouragement of suitably talented final year students Newcastle story where were we? In 2003, a consultation was held with managers and staff in Children s Services and students enrolled on DiPSWA at Northumbria University, in addition to desktop research. Nationally, there was a trend of staff migrating to the private sector for better terms and conditions, an aging workforce and a skills shortage. The main reasons for joining the public sector was to make a difference to service users and local communities but people also wanted a job that satisfied them and a reward package that met their needs. Stress, paperwork, bureaucracy and lack of autonomy were identified as key reasons for leaving. There was also a concern that there was a lack of suitably qualified applicants for posts and a poor image and status. This was exacerbated by negative press coverage, perceptions of a highly stressful environment with limited career potential and costs for funding for social work training. (The average age of a social work student was 32 and such applicants often have greater financial and family responsibilities.) The local consultation showed there were national factors including pay and conditions, funding for training and the status of the role. In terms of local information, it was felt: PQ1 and PQ2 should be rewarded (there was no incentive to stay after gaining PQ2). There should be a longer career path so that experienced workers are paid more than newly appointed staff (at the time the difference was marginal). Not all staff leaving to join an agency do so for money it may be to gain experience in other authorities, alleviate burn out or flexibility to travel. 2

4 Car leasing schemes or essential car user allowance would make a big difference to recruitment and retention. Work-life balance and annual leave are important. Formalised grow your own schemes should be used to encourage Social Care Officers to move into social work. Exit interviews should be offered to all staff. Training on stress avoidance and management would be beneficial. There was a lack of internal training to prepare future managers for managerial roles. Staff who don t want to manage should be offered the opportunity to specialise (deliver training, work on special projects) or a senior practitioner role be introduced. Training was excellent and there were no problems accessing it. Mobile phones should be used to increase safety of workers. Caseloads should be protected for new staff. Supervision needs to be consistent quality and regular. Newcastle story where are we now? A number of the elements which were identified as concerns in the first strategy have been implemented. Single Status has come into effect and there are clear progression routes. There is also a new senior practitioner role and a corporate car leasing scheme has been introduced. In addition, there has been a change in the way teams are structured with a focus on speciality (Initial Response, Assessment and Monitoring and Looked After Children). Previously teams were broken down into geographical areas. This recruitment and retention strategy will build on the differences made previously and focus on five areas: Grow Your Own scheme, progression, Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) support package, recruitment of experienced staff and retention of good staff. It has been informed by comprehensive research by Total Research in November Nationally, the Social Work Reform Board was set up in January 2010 to lead a national social work reform programme. This includes plans for a national employers standards and supervision framework. The standards will set out clear expectations about employers responsibilities towards the social work workforce and support that social workers should expect from their employers in order to do their jobs effectively. The national standard is expected to be introduced in 2011 and the Task Force has developed an initial framework for helping employers and practitioners to take early action in assessing the health of their organisation on the range of issues affecting workload. The framework looks at five key areas known to make a significant contribution to the development and delivery of excellent frontline services: Effective workload management Pro-active workload management 3

5 Having the right tools to do the job A healthy workplace Effective service delivery We undertook the health check between May and November Our analysis shows that: There are no unfilled vacancies (all covered by agency). Vacancy rates are relatively low. All long term absences including maternity are filled. Caseloads are managed at a service/team level, recognising experience and complexity of cases. Average caseloads are (15 for newly qualified social workers). Supervision for NQSWs is held weekly when first employed and is reduced, if appropriate, over the first six months to fortnightly. There are no unallocated cases. Case allocation is discussed systematically by the Senior Management Team, and any problems are immediately escalated to the Director of Early Help and Social Care Services. Workflow trends and data are monitored via monthly reports received from the Performance Management Unit and quarterly social care performance data. This is discussed at Senior Management Team meetings. The health check shows we are positively managing our workforce but recruitment and retention of excellent staff is still a high priority in order to deliver the best possible service to the children and families of Newcastle. Nationally, 87% of councils report difficulties in recruiting and retaining in one or more professional areas. The most widespread occupational shortages are among social workers and social carers (78%), therefore we need to ensure we are the employer of choice for social care staff. Grow your own scheme Social Care Officers are given the opportunity to attend university and become qualified social workers. This is usually on a secondment basis through an annual recruitment and selection process. Progression The progression scheme is intended to encourage and recognise increasing knowledge and skills and the application of social work values. It has been designed to: Value the work of each individual applicant Ensure that standards of work are comparable throughout the directorate. The progression process incorporates four elements: Successful completion of consolidation unit of PQ award QA progression report compiled by the team manager A file audit carried out by the service manager / team manager A review carried out by the service manager. 4

6 The social worker and team manager should discuss progression within their supervision sessions and make the decision jointly to put the social worker forward for the consolidation unit. The report should clarify the reasons the team manger feels the candidate is ready to take on the role of a progressed social worker. The service manager should review the file audit and the report and make a decision with regard to the progression. Appendix 1 Progression guidance Appendix 2 Progression report template NQSW support package Participation in the Children s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) Newly Qualified Social Work Programme and Early Professional Development Programme has had a positive impact on recruitment and retention of social workers in the early stages of their careers. The Newly Qualified Social Work Programme is a 12 month support package for NQSWs, designed to ensure that they have access to the best possible opportunities, enabling them to broaden the skills and knowledge that they have gained through their initial training. It gives a firm foundation for future career development. The Early Professional Development (EPD) pilot programme supports and develops children s social workers who have completed the Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) pilot programme and are now entering their second and third year of employment. The City of Newcastle NQSW programme has reached the finals of the Skills for Care Accolades in the category of most effective employer support for newly qualified social workers. The success of the programme has been achieved by the embedding of the principles of the NQSW programme into our existing policies and procedures. For example, in the CWDC and Skills for Care document, Providing effective supervision, the City of Newcastle Supervision Policy is held as an example of good practice. Therefore we did not change the policy but we simply ensure that NQSW s supervision agreements reflect the frequency of supervision recommended by the NQSW programme. Appendix 3 Newly Qualified Social Worker Programme and Early Professional Development Programme Activity 2010 Appendix 4 NQSW Notepad Recruitment of experienced staff Recruitment for all staff is initially advertised internally, offering redeployment candidates the opportunity to apply for a suitable post, then for other current staff to apply for posts where they may wish to work. When a post is advertised externally, it will appear on the Newcastle City Council website and the North East Jobs portal (a regional resource shared by local authorities). It is also advertised in the local press. 5

7 The implementation of Single Status, a regional benchmark exercise, demonstrated that Newcastle salaries compare very favourably. All staff have a thorough induction into being employed by Newcastle City Council including: What is Children's Social Care in Newcastle? Working in Children's Social Care at Newcastle City Council, our expectations, your expectations What our core business is Where their work fits into the bigger picture Being valued as a worker in Children's Social Care Warnings, how to access information for safeguarding and keeping staff safe Common Core of skills and knowledge Policies and procedures Codes of practice Health and Safety Whistleblowing Supervision and appraisals Learning and development opportunities / training Appendix 5 Recruitment process Appendix 6 Induction plan Retention of quality staff Learning and Development The level and access to training in Newcastle has been perceived as good by social work staff. We are continually looking to improve the opportunities for staff and are currently exploring regional collaborative options to improve the recruitment and retention of qualified staff by enhancing training and achieving consistently good levels of human resource practice. Collaborative issues include: shared training including post qualification; joint working with universities on trainees and secondments; exploring recruitment to internal staff bank as alternative to commercial agencies; cross local authority approaches to career opportunities; and joint development of support systems. Staff are also offered the opportunity to train and become practice educators for student placements. They are supported by the Learning and Development Team who also offer a range of professional development programmes. 6

8 The Learning and Development Team specifically work with social care staff (adults and children). The team are currently improving social work education and development in line with the recommendations of the Task Force Reform Board to ensure Newcastle City Council achieves the highest possible standards for the support and development of social workers and is recognised as an employer of choice by newly qualified and experienced social workers across the region. The Learning and Development Team: has City and Guilds, OFSTED and Institute for Learning positive rating for Assessment Centre activity. CQC and OFSTED gave positive feedback during inspections about qualification and mandatory training targets required by National Minimum Standards. Investors in People accreditation indicated a very high level of satisfaction across the workforce in relation to qualification, post qualification and CPD opportunities. The Newly Qualified Social Worker programme, co-ordinated by the L and D team, was a runner up in the national Skills for Care Awards Introduced the Health and Social Care Apprenticeship programme - two of the trainees received awards from the city council to recognise good practice and personal development Introduced a celebrating success event to acknowledge the continuing professional development of staff who achieved qualification and post qualification awards. In order to improve the service, the Learning and Development Team will: Review the supervision policy to ensure good performance is recognised and underperformance is managed. Implement the Social Work Task Force Reform Board recommendations and associated policy initiatives, for example, Munro Review. Respond to areas for development raised in reviews and serious case re views. Regularly attend Children s Social Care Senior Management Team to ensure strong links between learning and development and senior managers. Consult with managers and new and existing staff about their experiences and what can be improved, or works well. Include children s, young people s, parents and carers views throughout induction. Continue to share learning and development opportunities with neighbouring local authorities. Appendix 7 Training plan 7

9 Newcastle Staff Well Being programme As a caring employer, Children s Services actively promotes staff motivation, job enjoyment, high morale and a sense of being valued. We also seek to support staff in managing pressure effectively, performing well and maintaining a life balance. The Newcastle Staff Well Being programme is delivered by Support for School Leaders in partnership with Positive Working and has the aim of enhancing staff job enjoyment and motivation. The programme is tailored to need and allows all staff to: evaluate their organisational well-being, identify their well-being strengths, engage in dialogue to create collective goals and move forward at a pace decided by the team. The programme meets, and goes beyond, the requirements of the Health and Safety Executive stress management standards. Appendix 8 Newcastle Well Being programme process Appendix 9 the national picture 8

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