"We are passionate and ambitious for the children and families we support"

Hilary Brooks, Director of Children’s Services


St Helens Borough Council has enjoyed a complete modernisation programme; the pandemic showed us new ways we could work and this added to our already ambitious transformation plan.

Here is an overview of the benefits and support you have access to as an employee here – and read on below for more details.

Benefits of joining St Helens Borough Council as a social worker

Annual leave entitlement

The annual leave year runs from 1st April to 31st March.

Employees are allocated an annual leave entitlement of between 23 days and 30 days, dependent on their salary scale and length of service. In addition, employees are entitled to 8 statutory bank holidays, pro-rata for part-time employees. 

Annual leave purchase scheme

The council operates an additional annual leave purchase scheme, which allows employees to enhance their leave entitlement and enhance their work-life balance.  Employees can apply to purchase an additional 5 days' leave (pro-rata for part time employees), subject to the needs of the service.

The purchase of annual additional leave is treated as a salary sacrifice and as such is not subject to the standard application of tax and national insurance. Employees who purchase additional leave are still required to make pension contributions based on the full salary before salary sacrifice deduction.

Discounted Go Active membership

Employees have access to discounted Go Active membership rates at Queens Park Health and Fitness Centre, Sutton Leisure Centre and Newton-le-Willows Health and Fitness Centre.  

Employee assistance programme

Care First is a free and confidential service which can provide support and guidance with personal, work or family issues.

Whether you need information or have questions about issues such as stress, pregnancy, debt, landlords, neighbours or nutrition, Care First online wellbeing can support you to find the answers.

On the website you will find information and guidance on a wide range of health and wellbeing topics, and if you can't find the answer to your question or need further information you can also contact Care First free of charge 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, to speak with an information specialist or counsellor.

My Possible Self – well-being app

A free and totally confidential online health and wellbeing platform and app resource, offering a personalised, tailored programme that suits you plus general health information and support.

Well-being hub

Access to all our workplace well-being resources in one place, including helpful tips, guidance, and toolkits to support your mental and physical health.


Healthcare Cash Plans offer a wide range of cover, from single membership to complete family cover. The plans work by providing cash benefits to help with the cost of everyday medical, dental and optical treatment in return for regular contributions.


  • Mental Health First Aiders
  • Access to Occupational Health
  • Career progression policy
  • Regular supervision

Pension scheme membership

Automatic enrolment into the Local Government Pension Scheme (Merseyside Pension Fund - career average related earnings scheme) with a 13.3% contribution from the council.

Additional voluntary contributions (AVC) scheme with Prudential and Standard Life

The opportunity to build a separate pot of money alongside your main scheme pension to give you extra income at retirement. The scheme provides the flexibility to change your contributions at any time to suit your personal circumstances.

Pre-retirement planning

In association with the Merseyside Pension Fund, this course is provided free of charge.

Charitable donations - Payroll Giving

Payroll Giving is the simplest tax-free way to donate to your favourite good cause.

Retail and leisure discounts 

Employees have access to an employee benefits platform, which is a dedicated site that acts as a one-stop shop, accessible at home or at work, anytime of the day or night, putting them in control. Benefits include exclusive discounts at six major supermarkets; exclusive deals at over 100 high street chains; money-saving offers at 26 restaurant chains; up to 40% discounts on cinema tickets at Cineworld, Odeon and VUE; exclusive deals on Sky Store; over 42 entertainment venue offers; trade price across 200+ tour operators; plus lots of independent store deals and deals available through local retailers within St Helens. This equates to discounts and offers at over 130,000 locations across the UK, which employees have access to through the platform.

Relocation costs

Financial support for temporary housing accommodation or lodging allowance, removal expenses, legal and estate agents’ expenses (subject to the scheme criteria being met).


  • Guaranteed income
  • No personal finance management costs: agency fees
  • Professional indemnity and personal liability insurance cover
  • No need to understand changes in tax arrangements for self-employed

Hybrid agile working

The council has developed an agile, hybrid blended working model that allows some employees to work flexibly from any location, whether that’s working from home, working from the agile hub, working from a council building, or from workplaces in the community. Agile working introduces greater flexibility and empowers employees to work smarter, choosing the best times and places to work to increase productivity and provide the opportunity to deliver a more efficient and quality service to residents while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Modern working practices enable employees to maximise their performance and productivity, with modern technology making it easier to access information remotely and work from a variety of locations while also working collaboratively.

Flexible working

All staff can apply for temporary and permanent flexible working arrangements to accommodate their personal circumstances and provide a better work-life balance.  Applications for flexible working should be made in accordance with the council’s flexible working policy.

Volunteering policy

Two paid days' volunteering per year as per our volunteer policy.


  • Occupational sick pay
  • Special leave policy

Free car parking

All staff are given access to free parking facilities either on site or within a short distance of your place of work.

Attractive essential car mileage/casual mileage rate 

Payments for those who are required to use their car for business purposes (excluding travelling to and from work). Based on your role, if you are deemed to be an essential car user after meeting the criteria, this attracts an annual allowance of either £963.00 or £846.00 per annum, depending on the size of vehicle, with a mileage rate paid at 40.9 pence per mile. Casual car user mileage rate is paid at 52.2 pence per mile.

Cycle to Work scheme

The Cycle to Work scheme is a tax exemption initiative introduced to promote healthier journeys to work and to reduce environmental pollution. The scheme opens twice yearly, providing employees with the opportunity to purchase a brand-new bike from Halfords and Thatto Heath Cycles and receive up to 42% discount on the retail price.  Payments are taken directly from salary over a 12-month period. 

The council encourages and supports employees to participate in a broad range of training and qualifications opportunities, not only to enable them grow and achieve their goals and career aspirations, but to foster innovation and creativity within the workplace.  

Opportunities range from short courses to full qualifications and can be specific to your job role or an opportunity to develop your transferrable skills.

We have a dedicated training hub for Children's Services. We use this to advertise all new training courses along with the links to both the internal training system, safeguarding children's boards training page, and other partner pages.

Skills for Care - ASYE at St Helens

St Helens Borough Council operates an independently designed ASYE Foundation Programme in partnership with the Greater Merseyside and Cheshire West Social Work Teaching Partnership.


Apprenticeship qualifications are funded from the council’s Apprenticeship Levy, providing all council employees, regardless of their age, length of service or job role, with the opportunity to undertake a vocational, workplace qualification. 

Apprenticeships are a great way to upskill, to develop your knowledge, cultivate new skills and acquire new experiences - all while you continue in your current job role and at no cost to you. 

Qualifications are available in over 400 vocational subjects, ranging from level 2 (equivalent to GCSE and O-Levels) up to level 7 (equivalent to a Master’s degree).   

St Helens also forms part of the Learn Together Partnership, who oversee Step Up to Social Work. This is an intensive full-time, fully funded, Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work Training that allows you to become a social worker in just 14 months. It's an opportunity to earn while you learn, with funding provided by the Department of Education.

Our apprentices receive a package of wraparound support from their line manager to enable them to apply their learning and skills in the workplace, from the council’s training section to ensure that issues or uncertainties are addressed at the earliest opportunity, and from the training provider who will deliver and guide you through the qualification requirements. All of this support is in place to ensure that each learner has a positive learning experience and achieves their full potential. 

Learning hub

Access 24/7 to our learning library of thousands of e-books, expert talks and short courses, enabling your personal development journey.

Annual VIP (Values in Practice) Award Programme

Open to all employees to celebrate our success together.