Social Workers Could Get [Pounds Sterling]15,000 Pay Rise; Task Force Seeks to Improve Their Battered Image

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Byline: Steve Doughty Social Affairs Correspondent

SOCIAL workers who deal with troubled families and vulnerable children should be paid more, a report for Children's Secretary Ed Balls said yesterday.

The proposal means the council workers would be able to push their pay above the current ceiling of [pounds sterling]35,000 and match the [pounds sterling]50,000 available to the best teachers and nurses.

However, questions remained last night over how the Government plans to find the money to pay for incentives to improve social workers' performance.

The Social Work Task Force, commissioned in the aftermath of the Baby P case, was led by Moira Gibb, head of Camden council in North London and a former social services chief.

It made 15 recommendations yesterday to lift social workers out of the low morale and public contempt which has overtaken them. These included proposals to bring higher calibre recruits into social work training, to produce a licensing system to ensure the quality of their work, and to mount a publicity campaign to improve 'public understanding'.

The report also claimed higher pay should go to those who turn down deskbound management jobs and build their experience in helping those at risk. Miss Gibb called for a National College of Social Work to act as a public voice for social workers.

Ministers said they would push for the organisation to become a 'royal college' with similar status to medical bodies including the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of GPs.

Mr Balls hopes the reforms will resurrect the battered reputation of social workers in the wake of Baby P's death. …