The MoC is a voluntary regional agreement designed to reduce the instability caused by increased social worker turnover and the costs associated with employing excessive numbers of agency staff. It also sets out aspirations to work more closely together to increase the supply of children’s social workers. 

All Local Authority signatories to the MoC adopt the following protocols as agreed in principle by the AD's Safeguarding Network:

  1. Adopt a common minimum standard for referencing to help prevent ‘recycling’ of poor quality permanent and agency workers.
  2. Use end of placement reviews with adequate information passed back to the agency workers and the agency supplier to determine any development requirements or to cease placing the worker to help to address quality issues.
  3. To work towards fully implementing the terms of this MoC via all their suppliers, i.e. main contractor and any 2nd tier suppliers.
  4. Proactively use their agency supply chain as a pipeline for the supply of permanent workers, in addition to direct recruitment. All LAs acknowledge that working as an interim helps to build experience and enhances productivity. 
  5. Ensure that permanent and agency workers are clear from the outset of the MoC and how it is being adopted by all signatory LAs and their agency suppliers. LAs and suppliers will provide standardised information on the MoC during recruitment and at induction. 
  6. LAs and all their suppliers (whether providing permanent or temporary supply of workers) to refrain from aggressive ‘headhunting’ from within those LAs that have adopted the MoC, unless for a promotional role. Some rules of engagement will be developed in discussion with LAs for this purpose.

The MoC is a key development for the region, it will be most effective if all authorities are engaged and committed to it’s success. If you need any further information, help or support with this work please contact Mark Evans (details below).

Governance & Reports

The following Local Authorities have agreed to implement the MoC for managing the demand and supply of Children’s Social Workers:

Bracknell Forest  

Brighton and Hove


East Sussex

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight 



Milton Keynes






West Berks

West Sussex

Windsor and Maidenhead




16 of the 19 local authorities in the region have pledged their support to this approach and the MoC is now operational.

Councils in the region have recognised that competing with each other to recruit social workers has become counter productive and has contributed to the increased reliance on agency staff and escalating costs.

The new Memorandum of Cooperation aims to ensure a more collaborative approach to recruiting social workers and to the employment of agency staff, when necessary, making it harder for agencies to persuade social workers to leave their permanent post with a local authority.

The Memorandum contains four key measures: 

  • An agency pay cap to stop pay rates from escalate as authorities paying higher and higher hourly rates
  • Agreement to refrain from aggressive head hunting
  • A standardised approach to references for agency staff
  • A six month “cooling off” period for permanent staff moving to agency work

A new approach to recruitment will be taken, with local authorities devising their own recruitment campaigns to attract quality social workers in to their permanent employ, rather than commissioning recruitment agencies to ‘head hunt’ social workers and managers. The aim of this is to increase stability in the workforce and reduce the incentives for staff to repeatedly move between authorities.

Through the Memorandum, work is also being undertaken to improve the quality of agency staff. There are many reports of poor quality agency workers moving frequently between authorities. The Memorandum agrees a new standardised approach to references that will help to ensure better shared communication between authorities and, in turn, improve the quality and accountability of agency social workers and managers.

The Memorandum also contains an agreement that signatory authorities will not employ social workers as agency staff, if they were permanent as members of staff in another signatory authority within the previous 6 months. Workers can still freely move between direct employment with authorities across the region.