Bridgend social worker warns of over-reliance on agency workers

A social worker in Bridgend says the council’s extensive use of agency staff could mean children slip through the net.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by WalesOnline reveled that in 2022 the local authority had spent £1,147,354 on outsourcing social workers. This is almost a 10 times increase from £165,624 in 2021, and £146,496 in 2020.

A social worker in Bridgend, says there are issues with this.

“You might miss things that other social workers have seen, that they might just forgotten to tell you. Its just kind of a grey area”.

“If I was on a case with a child, I would want to stay on that case until it was closed, rather than having different social workers going in every time because you don’t get to build a relationship with the individual to get the trust”.

Bridgend Council have extended their contract with a private care organisation which provides support to the local authority’s child safe-guarding services. The contract was initially given to the Innovate Children and Young People’s Service (CYPS) on a six-month basis in March 2022 but the council say they are now experiencing “unprecedented levels of need and demand experienced by the service”. The contract has now been extended for a further 12 months.

The contract with CYPS is said to cost the council around £100,000 over the next year. But this is nothing compared to what the council have spent in previous years.

In a recent report the council say they are facing “significant recruitment challenges” and “any change in supplier would mean a significant risk of a gap in service provision”. But the social worker we spoke to believes the council could be doing more to attract people to the role. She thinks the council should pay more.

“So many people are leaving the role, and not enough people are coming through to fill their shoes”.

“We need more funding and more incentives. We all love the job and it’s a hard job. I just think we all need some support”.

Bridgend Council were approached for comment, but are yet to respond.