BRACKNELL’S social care workers are among the best paid from more than 150 local authorities in the country.

Staff are paid an average of £9.46 per hour – the sixth highest figure in the UK and the highest from all south east England unitary councils.

However only 43 per cent of staff are recruited having already worked in the sector, which is the lowest rate in south east England.

In comparison, 70 per cent of neighbouring authority Wokingham Borough Council’s social care staff were recruited from within the sector.

Melanie O’Rourke, assistant director of adult social care at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “We undertake thorough workforce planning arrangements within the council to ensure we have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, to provide effective services within adult social care.

“With a very competitive market, we have broadened our approach to recruitment by offering development opportunities to new members of staff. This allows them to continue to improve their expertise.

“Additionally, we have close working relationships with our partner organisations to ensure mandatory training is completed across the workforce. This approach has resulted in a lower than average turnover of staff in this sector.

“The recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce remains a significant challenge for the adult social care sector, but this is not unique to Bracknell Forest. We will continue to work with our partners to effectively support our community.”

The figure come from this year’s assessment of local authorities by expert social care insight website Skills For Care.

The site examined how the council’s social care workforce is made up and figures also revealed that just over half of the council’s social care employees have a relevant social care qualification.

However the average number of years experience the authority’s social care staff have is 8.7 years – higher than Wokingham Borough Council worker’s 7.8 years.

One in five are employed on zero-hours contracts and three in five are employed full time.

Yet the council currently has a 10 per cent vacancy rate – which works out at 230 unfilled jobs, according to Skills For Care.

Social care workers take an average of 5.2 sick days per year, which is higher than Wokingham Borough Council’s 4.4 days.