From the introduction of the National Living Wage to the Brexit vote, 2016 was an interesting year for the social care sector.

This guide runs through the key figures from last year, offering social workers and local authorities a factual insight into how the social care sector is changing, and how HCL and other workforce providers must adapt.

As per 30 September 2016:

  • 27,700: The number of full time social workers
  • 5,540: The number of social work vacancies
  • 5,330: The number of agency workers within children and families. 3,870 (72.6%) of which were covering vacancies – a decrease from 79.2% in 2015
  • 16 – The average caseload per social worker
  • Last year we saw the introduction of the National Living Wage for staff, resulting in an increase in the hourly pay rate from £6.70 to £7.20 for workers aged 25 and above

2016 was also a year of ongoing challenges for local authorities, we saw:

  • £1bn shortfall in social care funding
  • A vote to raise four council tax bands E-H from April 2017
  • The total revenue expenditure by local authorities in England is budgeted at £94.1 billion for 2016-17; a decrease of 1.4% from the £95.4 billion budgeted in 2015-16
  • 30.6% of total net current expenditure is budgeted to be spent on Education, 18.6% on Housing Benefits and 12.9% on Adult Social Care – the same as in 2015-16
  • Although the overall budget for social care in England rose fractionally last year from £13.65bn to £13.82bn, it was outstripped by the cost of demographic changes that have seen the number of people needing help grow, and the £600m cost of introducing the National Living Wage
  • Last year saw a Brexit vote that will undoubtedly have a substantial impact on the social care sector


At HCL, we’re proud to play a significant role in providing social workers that keep the social care sector running.

Whether you are looking for a job or social workers for your organisation, we’d love to hear from you.

Leave a Reply