Doncaster Council social workers offered £2,000 'golden hello'

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A council with a "legacy of failure" in its children services is offering £2,000 in "golden hellos" to attract social workers to the town.

Doncaster Council set aside the money after a string of problems led to the government taking over children's services in 2009.

The council said the incentives were part of an improvement plan to make social workers stay in the town.

A sum of £2,000 would also be offered to staff who stay for two years.

Last month, Education Secretary Michael Gove said Doncaster's children's services will be run by an independent trust from next year.

The department was taken over by the government four years ago following the deaths of seven children through abuse or neglect over a five-year period.

'Dreadful churn turnover'

A year later, a serious case review found the torture of two boys in Edlington, by brothers aged 11 and 12, had been "preventable".

Chief executive Jo Miller said 20 newly-qualified social workers had recently been recruited by the council.

The incentives apply to new team managers and for staff who stay in the job, the council said.

"What we really need is more experienced staff to stay, which is what the golden handcuff is - rewarding people who have been there for two years," Ms Miller said.

Following the Edlington case, Lord Carlile highlighted weaknesses in the town's children's services.

He referred to a "demoralised social work profession" and a "dreadful churn turnover" of social workers.

Ms Miller said keeping social workers in Doncaster was not just about money: "I have been told it's very much about safe working, and working with families rather than being chained to the computer," she said.

"I'm confident that Doncaster can shed its reputation and be the place our children and families need it to be."

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