A three-year bonus is being offered by Peterborough City Council to entice staff from all walks of life to work with children in care.
The council is undergoing changes to its children’s social care team which includes using fewer agency social workers but more ‘alternatively qualified’ workers to take on lower level cases.
With a shortage of social workers across the country, the council is offering bonuses of up to 20 per cent of a starting salary which would be spread out over three years, with the biggest bonus of 10 per cent given out after the third year.
Currently, the council’s 62 workers have an average pay of £41,250 compared to the average cost of an agency social worker which is £71,000.
The number of agency workers is said to have reduced from 25 to 18 since September last year.
The council is currently seeking to recruit 20 alternatively qualified workers at a cost of £528,000 which would see the number of social worker posts reduce from 83 to 70.
Overall, the council is expecting to save over £400,000 in the next financial year.
Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, corporate director for people and communities at the council, said: “There’s an attraction for an agency social worker where the pay is higher and Peterborough is seen as a challenging place to work.
“But we can make ourselves a more attractive place to work which is what we are doing.”
Council leader Councillor John Holdich said: “This is really leading edge stuff and there is a lot of interest in the country in what we are doing.”
The council’s Children’s Social Care department was given a rating of ‘need to improve’ by Ofsted last September.