THE caseloads of children’s social workers in Bradford has risen again - and a new report reveals that the department has a high turnover of staff.

It shows that many workers are tempted to move to work with other councils, which offer better pay and conditions for social workers.

On Wednesday Bradford Council’s Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee will receive an update on the current caseloads of children’s social workers in the district.

There are currently 180 Social Workers (169 full time equivalents) working for the Council. A third of these are newly qualified, and another third are between their first and second year qualifications.

Just a third are classed as “experienced workers” who are qualified for 2.5years or more.

Most recent figures show that the average caseload for each full time equivalent social worker in Bradford is 18.8 cases, up from 16.18 in December 2016. The national average is 16.1 cases per social worker, and a regional average is 15.6 cases.

The report reveals that there are 23 workers in the long term and family team that hold caseloads of 25 cases or more.

It adds: “Caseloads have increased over the past 12 months due to the increased volume of referrals and assessments required in children’s social care.

“This pressure is felt particularly in our front line assessment and long term child and family teams.

“We do want to reduce the caseload size in the long term teams and are working hard to achieve this as part of our service improvement plan.

“There has been increasing demand across much of Social Care over the past 12 months. This includes an increase in referrals, assessments and an increase in the number of care proceedings.”

The report says: “There is a concern that our turnover rate in children’s social care has increased over the last year and that we have lost more of our experienced staff.

“These staff have left for various reasons but some have left to go to other authorities with better pay and conditions for social workers.”

Children’s social work turnover for the year from Sept 16 to September 17 works out at approx 17.7 per cent. The average turnover figures for wider Council staff is 12 per cent.

Between September 2016 and August 2017 53 qualified social workers left the service and 75 social workers have started in post. Of the new starters, just 11 have been experienced workers with at least 2.5 years of experience’

The report adds: “There remains a challenge to recruit more experienced social work staff and we are working on initiatives to improve staff retention, which include ensuring manageable caseloads, regular good supervision and team support.”

Bradford Council’s Executive recently proposed a £1.35 million investment into children’s social work over the next three years. The £450,000 a year will be funded by an increase in business rate income.

The committee will meet in City Hall at 4.30pm.