Navigating Change: The impact of the Governments New Rules on Agency Social Work Resource Engagement.

Share this article:

In the realm of children’s social care, the winds of change are blowing.  The Government’s response to national rules on the engagement of agency social work resource in local authority children’s social care is set to reshape the sector. As the business director of workforce management solutions company Matrix, Julian Panter states: I am proud to share that we, in collaboration with APSCo and others, have been instrumental in the public consultation process, and I am thrilled to report that our recommendations have been carefully considered.

Matrix stands as one of the few neutral vendor managed service companies in the UK that played a role in this consultation.  Together with APSCo and other workforce management companies, we championed a consistent message across MSP’s, agencies, public sector bodies and social workers – a message that, in our collective view, steers the sector in the right direction.

The guidelines governing social workers in childcare are scheduled for publication in spring 2024.  As a member of APSCo, we are fully committed to working on the necessary processes that will ensure 

we adhere to these transformative changes.  Matrix currently oversees a substantial portion of the UK’s social care workforce, and we have been operating under similar guidelines as those set forth in the London Pledge (LP) since 2022.  For us, the transition promises to be seamless.

The London Pledge, initiated to address financial pressures and challenges in recruiting and retaining children’s social workers in the capital, brought together many of the London boroughs in agreement over a pan-London pay rate.  It also stipulated a policy of not engaging agency candidates who had left permanent posts elsewhere in London within the past six months.  Our technology played a vital role in supporting these boroughs in implementing this initiative.  We also played a big role in creating a memorandum that capped pay rates.

With Matrix handling approximately £94 million of the UK’s social care workforce over the past 12 months, it’s evident that we have a significant presence in the sector, as 60% of our customers had requirements for children’s social workers.

Even with the notable success of the LP and its proven track record, challenges lie ahead.  Ensuring that all public sector bodies applicable and agencies adhere to the new rules will present its own set of hurdles, much like the initial phases of the LP.

In the report’s forward, David Johnston, OBW MP, Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, underscored the paramount importance of the children\s social care system’s workforce.  He emphasised, “The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, published in May 2022, highlighted that the greatest strength of the children’s social care system lies in its workforce. “We wholeheartedly share this perspective.  Our longstanding collaboration with UK councils demonstrates the profound impact of close relationships with these boroughs in addressing the persistent issue of workforce demand in social care.

As Johnston continued in his forward, “I have seen first-hand the vital work that social workers, including those who choose to work through recruitment agencies, do to support the most vulnerable children and families.  Their continued commitment and unwavering resolve to transform lives was clear from across consultation responses.”

This underscores our core belief: workforces management is here to offer unwavering support to the sector in every way possible.  The new rules on agency social work resource engagement will undoubtedly serve as a pivotal milestone as we venture forward into 2024.  The journey may be challenging, but with a collective commitment to progress and transform, we will embrace the change and continue to make a difference in the lives of children and families across the UK.

Share this article: