Brent Council will spend around £60,000 as part of a scheme that encourages its social workers to stay in their roles.

Its general purposes committee approved plans to renew incentives for social workers to promote job retention and avoid the need to rely on agencies.

According to a report, £61,200 will be required to cover retention payments awarded to those who have been in their jobs for three years.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said: “It was a challenging position and there was a time where we had so many temporary staff.

“The last thing we want is social workers leaving halfway through [cases] – we need to give children and young people that continuity.”

He was supported by Cllr Shama Tatler, who said it was important to promote “stability” across the board and reinforce the council’s values as an employer.

And Brent Council deputy leader Cllr Margaret McLennan said these kinds of incentives made it more likely for Brent to secure “the best” social workers available.

As well as the retention payments, the council pays some of its social workers ‘golden hellos’ of £5,000 as a further incentive.

Nigel Chapman, operational director of integration and improved outcomes at Brent Council, said all these measures allow it to compete with other local authorities and create “an appetite for people to remain in Brent”.

For example, in neighbouring Harrow, social workers are also offered supplements and retention payments.

In Barnet, there are currently no incentive schemes in place, but staff in the equivalent department are offered higher starting salaries.

Mr Chapman added that this system has helped the council move away from using agency workers, which it views as more expensive and less practical.

Martin Williams, head of human resources at Brent Council, explained that such incentives are currently only offered to social workers but that similar benefits for other departments could be explored if there were issues with recruitment.

It was also suggested that social workers could be offered key worker accommodation as part of housing schemes in the borough.

However, the council’s chief executive, Carolyn Downs, said it was important to stress that such accommodation would not be offered to those in more senior roles.