Barnado’s and YouGov survey of social workers

Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee, said:

“We expect a lot from our social workers who do a very difficult job under intense scrutiny and increasing pressure. Therefore, it is not wholly surprising to see that the results of this survey point to raised levels of stress amongst social work staff, though it is a matter of concern. Social workers are at the heart of supporting families to overcome the challenges they face, protecting vulnerable people and enabling choice, that is why it’s important that they are well supported by their managers and employers. Local authorities continue to do their utmost to get the basics right so that good social work can flourish. Some of the best protections from the impact of stressful work are manageable caseloads and high quality, regular and reflective supervision, as well as improving administrative processes to enable for more direct work with children and families.

“However, these protective measures are harder to achieve against a backdrop of funding cuts and an increasing number of children and families in need of help and support. This affects both those providing and those relying on our services and is undoubtedly impacting on the work we can do with children and families. There is some evidence that thresholds for intervention vary from area to area, but not that local authorities are generally raising social work thresholds in response to limited resources. However, many areas are reporting a reduction in the early help services available which, over time, is likely to increase pressure on vulnerable families and statutory services as the problems they face reach crisis point.”


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