Social worker asked to return at 82

A RETIRED social worker was sent a letter asking her to return to the profession – even though she is 82.

Barbara MacArthur quit her job in 1982 and has spent the past 27 years caring for her 54-year-old autistic son Howard.

But she was stunned to receive a letter offering her up to £50 an hour to return to social work.

Divorced Mrs MacArthur, of Cathays, Cardiff, said: “I knew they were desperate for social workers, but I didn’t think they were this desperate!”

The letter, from Hertfordshire-based Evergood Associates, asks for Mrs MacArthur’s “current availability and future career plan”.

It adds: “We look forward to receiving your completed form with CV if applicable at your earliest convenience.”

The former policewoman previously worked for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau before becoming a social worker in 1960.

She said: “I’ve always wanted to help people and, even when I was a policewoman, I found myself feeling sorry for the people I was supposed to be arresting.

“I expect a lot of social workers have left the profession because of changes in attitudes over the last few years, so there must be a shortage.

“And social work has been in the news lately because of the Baby P scandal and other cases.

“I expect there will be some retired people who would go back – but not at my age! I’m flattered, it’s quite funny really.”

The one-page letter, personally addressed to Mrs MacArthur, asks the recipient to tick specialist team experience or express a desire to work in 30 social work fields from family support and “elderly 65+” to asylum and HIV.

It claims NHS-approved Evergood Associates “specialises in the supply and recruitment of qualified social workers, assistant social workers, residential child care workers and social work support workers”.

The letter adds: “We recruit professional social workers for temporary, permanent and flexible assignments within the public, private and voluntary care sectors.

“We aim to provide an efficient and personal service whereby our workers are the highest-paid locums.

“Whether it is one day a week, a regular part-time assignment or a long-term, full-time locum, Evergood Associates will work for you.”

The company’s spokeswoman Lisa Drage said: “Firstly Evergood Social Care Ltd would like to extend our sincere apologies to Mrs MacArthur for the obvious misdirection of our mail shot.

“As specialists in the supply of qualified and unqualified social workers, residential child care workers and support workers, it was our intention to contact our candidates who have worked with us recently with a view to offering them some of the fantastic placements we currently have on offer.

“We will be reviewing our database as a result of this mishap.

“We do wish Mrs MacArthur a very happy retirement – and if she has any contacts we offer fantastic referral bonuses!”

Ms Drage said the company had sent Mrs MacArthur flowers to apologise for the mistake.