The Memorandum of Co-operation on Children's Agency Social Workers

  • By DebbieWilliams


What is the problem we are trying to address?

London’s Directors of Children’s Services are working together collaboratively to establish a more balanced social worker workforce across London, control rising agency worker rates and ensure accurate performance feedback on candidates.

What have we done to address the problem?

  • Agreed revised pan-London agency worker pay rates and role categories to ensure fairness
  • Adopted evidenced protocols that have been in place for many years in our surrounding regions and are therefore familiar to our agency workers and agencies
  • Refined our reference template with a renewed commitment to information sharing to support speed of recruitment processes and hiring decisions
  • Enabled Children’s Services engagement in comprehensive workforce data and quarterly pay rate data collections
  • Worked closely with our Managed Service Providers and agency supply chain to ensure clarity of objectives and cooperative working.

Who leads and governs the London Pledge?

  • London Directors of Children’s Services lead this initiative together, recognising competition between LAs does not serve the best interests of London’s Social Workers or vulnerable children.
  • London Directors of Children’s Services have taken ownership of the workforce challenges and to work in a collegiate way to promote greater stability in the Children’s Workforce.
  • London Directors of Children’s Services, Practice Leaders, Workforce Leads, Recruitment Leads and HR work closely together to govern the London Pledge through sub-regional structures ensuring consistent communication, transparency and shared accountability in addressing the over reliance on agency resource.
  • We have worked with other regions and national organisations to support the development of the London Pledge and continue to work in partnership to support on shared workforce challenges aligned to national reform.

What is the London Pledge designed to do?

  • Enable LAs to control costs through shared commitment and established governance under children services control
  • Ensure improved information sharing, speed and accountability through new governance and revised referencing
  • Give Directors of Children’s Services time to retain their existing workforce whilst working towards long term workforce change

Who are we working with?

  • All London Directors of Children Services. 32 London Boroughs have signed the London Pledge.
  • The 5 Managed Service Providers across London and Social Worker agency supply chain
  • Other regions across the UK and national bodies to support national initiatives in line with national reform

What are the outcomes (or planned outcomes?)

  • Creating a stable and high performing social worker base in London.
  • A development plan to support the permanent workforce needs also to be established.  

What has been the benefit of working collaboratively?

  • Workforce challenges in the Social Work sector cannot be tackled by a single Council on their own.
  • Collaboration across councils, between professions and with the agency sector have been key.
  • Focussing on a core objective of wanting a stable workforce has been key in galvanising stakeholders who are working more transparently and cooperatively than ever before.