Bedford County Council

 "The achievement of recruiting high quality social workers is incredible as are the cost savings. Most importantly the children are starting to see the benefit. The feedback we are getting from families and children is overwhelmingly positive, mainly because of the high-quality workforce we have. Our Social Workers get up in the morning to make a difference to the lives of children, that’s why we do what we doI am pleased that we now have the knowledge that on a daily basis our wonderful social workers are out there making a difference to the lives of children."

- Cllr Valentine - Portfolio holder for Children’s Services 

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Industry 

Local Government 

Employees 

2,200 

Region Supported 

UK 

52%

agency staff reduced to less than 10% in the first 6 months  

£1.5m

Agency spend reduction in the first 12 months of the project  

Significant improvement

to candidate experiences – attracting a higher quality workforce 

 

Greater consistency

in social work - translating to increasingly positive experiences for children in the Borough’s care

Due to difficulties attracting and retaining talent, Bedford Borough Council relied on agency staff, making up 52% of their social care workforce — a common story throughout the UK. There was a significant churn, where agency staff would come, go, then leave. This lack of continuity in service left the children with no friendly, familiar face when at their most vulnerable.  

Bedford Borough wanted a high quality, committed workforce. With the help and expertise of Guidant Global’s dedicated account team, headed up by Selena Ayling, Bedford were able to create a workforce development strategy to meet this demand — ensuring that children under the Borough’s care received the best possible service available, and ultimately helping them to have the best start in life.  

Bedford, like many local authorities, is tackling the challenge of retaining a high-quality permanent workforce. They needed to make themselves attractive to potential new employees in order to attract ambitious and dynamic talent. 

The key priority was to ensure that children receive consistent, high-quality support when they need it the most. The council recognised the need to improve candidate experience and talent attraction – while safeguarding the Council’s employer brand. 

There was a high reliance on agencies — previously 52% of the social workers were agency staff and due to the low retention rate, there was no continuity of service. This was failing the children and needed to be addressed. 


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