Press Release
9th April 2020

Urgent call goes out to former social workers: “Please come back to save and protect lives”

Council social care chiefs in the West Midlands have urged former social workers to return to work urgently to help deal with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Councils working hard to support vulnerable people during the outbreak say that staffing problems and increasing demand are making it harder to keep helping those most in need.

Current figures show that of the 10,000 staff employed by local authorities in the West Midlands to support older and vulnerable adults, 1 in 5 are away from work because they are sick or self-isolating.

A new campaign has been launched to encourage people who have left the profession but remain registered to return to work in adult social care. Retired staff are also being asked to re-register and return.

The #ComeBackToCare campaign will explain these are tough times for adult social care and will ask former social workers: “Please come back to save and protect lives”

The campaign, which has been created by the improvement body West Midlands Employers (WME) and the regional branch of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (WMADASS), is thought to be one of the first in the sector and reflects similar return-to-work campaigns for doctors, nurses and volunteers in the NHS.

It has been endorsed by the 14 councils in the West Midlands region which are responsible for providing advice, support and direct care to adults with disabilities and older people with physical or mental health needs, many of whom have been affected  by the lockdown or by illness.

At the heart of the project will be a central website on which potential returners with the right experience and qualifications can apply to come back to work as a full employee or as a volunteer – and be fast tracked into work.

Through the website the 14 councils will be able to match with a pool of candidates and get people back on the front line within days.

The site at https://comebacktocare.org.uk/  says: “In Adult Social Care in the West Midlands the pressures are immense.  The people we serve need our care more than ever before.

“To keep going over the next months we need all the experience, skills and spare hands we can find.

“For whatever reason you left adult social care – to change direction, look after you family or to enjoy a well-earned retirement – we need your skills and experience again.

“We need you back.”

Andy Begley chair of ADASS in the West Midlands and Executive Director Adult Services, Public Health & Housing at Shropshire Council, said:

“In these extraordinary circumstances the system of care and support for adults in our region is under severe strain.

‘Things can only get worse as the outbreak reaches its peak and people start to be sent home to recover after treatment in hospital and need our help even more.

Councils have worked together to fast-track the approach to recruiting, reflecting the urgency of the current situation, Rebecca Davis Chief Executive of West Midlands Employers said:

“In a matter of days our 14 councils working with West Midlands Employers have put together a self-help scheme backed by simple but powerful technology. It’s a tribute to how local government is innovating at the speed of light to deal with this crisis.

“There is an army out there of good, experienced and skilled people who we are asking to do their bit and come back to work, to save and protect the lives of their neighbours and friends.

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