North Somerset employed a record number of agency workers to fill vacancies in its children's social care services, new figures show.

Children's social work charity Frontline said the record use of agency workers across England – which were used to fill more vacancies than in any year since records began in 2017 – is "a symptom of the recruitment and retention crisis" in the workforce.

Department for Education figures show there were 30.5 full-time-equivalent agency workers in children's social care services in North Somerset as of 30 September 2023 – up from 13.8 the year before, and the highest figure since records first began in 2017.

In 2023, North Somerset had vacancies equivalent to 30.8 full-time staff, 30.4 of which were covered by agency staff.

Nationally, the number of agency workers reached a record high in 2023 at 7,174 FTE.

Of these, 5,744 were used to fill new vacancies, also a record high. This meant 74.4% of vacancies were covered by agency workers last year, also the highest figure on record.

A spokesperson added: "The use of additional agency support and subsequent expenditure associated with this is, without a doubt, a symptom of the recruitment and retention crisis we are seeing in children's social care across the country.”