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Child Protection Units

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he last met child protection units in (a) Newham, (b) Haringey and (c) Lambeth concerning the shortfall in child protection social workers in these local authorities.[109110]

I refer the hon. Member to the response I gave him on 7 April 2003, Official Report, column 95W, with regard to discussions my Department has with local authorities on the matters of recruitment of social care workers, which would also apply to the three local authorities named in the question.The Government are well aware of the recruitment and retention challenges that face the employers of social workers in some parts of the country. This is why we are conducting a national recruitment campaign for social care workers to support employers in attracting staff. The national social work recruitment campaign was launched in October 2001. It is aimed at informing the public about social work and social care, and encouraging recruitment and retention. The £1.5 million campaign includes both national and local press and radio advertising and particular efforts are being made in some areas, such as London and the South East, that face more serious problems with recruitment and retention of social workers.

In addition to the recruitment campaign, we have also announced a major new specific grant. The Human Resources Development Strategy Grant is set at £9.525 million for 2003–04. One of the central purposes of the grant is to enable social care employers across the statutory, private and voluntary sectors to tackle problems of recruitment and retention.