Abstracts: June 27th, 2007

This report from the Information Centre, an independent special health authority that collects statistics about health and social care, shows that the number of staff working in social services has declined. The falling numbers result from greater involvement of the private sector in delivering care. There has been an increase in the total expenditure on social care since 1997 as well as an increase in the total numbers of people receiving services.The number of staff employed by councils with social service responsibilities in England was 272,100 in 2006 compared with 277,300 in 2005 and 308,700 in 1997. This represents a decrease in the headcount of around 2 per cent since 2005 and 12 per cent since 1997.

The number of social workers has increased however. There are now 44,200 social workers employed by local councils compared with 42,800 in 2005 and 36,800 in 1997. This represents an increase in the headcount of 3 per cent since 2005 and 20 per cent since 1997.

The report shows how patterns of care are changing. There are fewer whole time equivalent staff working in local council residential care settings, with falls of 3 per cent since 2005 and 29 per cent since 1997. The numbers working in a day care setting have also fallen, although by a smaller amount. There was a reduction of 2 per cent since 2005 and 12 per cent since 1997.

The report: ‘Personal Social Services Staff of Social Services Department, September 2006, England’ is available at. http://www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/social-care/adult-social-care-information/personal-social-services-staff-of-social-services-departments-at-30-september-2006-england