Swansea City Council Scoops National Award For Social Care Recruitment

Swansea City Council has scooped a national award for being Frank about the challenges and rewards of working in social care. The local authority has won a prestigious Public Sector Personnel Managers’ Association Award in the category Best Recruitment Advert in Social Care.

The award is for the council’s successful social care campaign with headlines such as “Every Penny Helps”, “Bob’s your Uncle”, “Rose Blooms” and “It’s time for a Frank approach.” It means that the Swansea campaign now has national recognition as example of best practice across the public sector.

Cllr Wendy Fitzgerald, Cabinet Member for Social Services, said: “I am delighted that we have won this award. The campaign was innovative and had a positive impact on recruitment to this key service. It is wonderful to see the efforts of everyone involved recognised at a national level in particular the Home Care Management Team who worked tirelessly to ensure the campaign was successful. As a local authority we will continue to explore a range of measures to attract the very best people into vital social care roles.”

The Swansea Council campaign success was sparked by a need to recruit Home Care community care assistants against a background of competition from private companies and neighbouring authorities paying more for similar skills.

Traditional advertising had failed to attract enough interest and often those expressing an interest had no real understanding of the real nature of the role. The council team did some investigating and identified issues such as the need to raise awareness in the community of the importance and nature of the Community Care Assistant’s role.

They also found the lengthy application form sometimes put off candidates. The result was that the council drew up not only a different type of advertising campaign, but also an alternative application process.

The council launched a six month rolling campaign using striking headlines that had a familiar personalised feel with adverts in local press, on radio, posters and bus panels backed up with an open day.

For example “Every Penny Helps” featured a care assistant called Penny and explained that as a community care assistant she makes a real difference to the lives of people in the our community.

Then instead of a formal application form being the first stage of the appointment process, applicants responding to the adverts were asked to fill in a short ‘expression of interest’ that asked for basic facts. This enabled the Council to check at the outset that candidates met the minimum criteria before taking them on through the formal appointment process.

The campaign raised a considerable local interest, resulting in the council seeing a significant increase in applications compared to previous advertising.