DfE longitudinal study of local authority social workers

Rachel Dickinson, ADCS President, said:

“The first phase of this study gives us some valuable insights from child and family social workers and there are important messages here for local authorities to take away. There are messages for the Department for Education and the Treasury too, particularly in relation to a lack of resources cited as a common cause of stress by social workers. We know that there is not enough funding in the system to meet the level of need in our communities and that this is impacting on our ability to improve children and families’ life chances, as a country this will cost us significantly both in human and monetary terms.

“Every social worker I’ve met has come into the profession to make a difference in people’s lives and this is reflected in the results of the study. It is encouraging that most of the respondents feel satisfied by their job and plan to stay in child and family social work for the next 12 months because we know job satisfaction is fundamental to retention and that the children and families we work with value continuity in their social worker. It is positive that over half of the social workers surveyed feel valued by their employer, that some don’t is concerning. Social workers carry exceptional responsibility on behalf of us all. It is important to us that social workers feel valued, well supported in their role and have manageable workloads so that they can spend more time with children and families making positive and enduring changes in their lives. Despite the impact of austerity, local authorities are doing a range of things to resolve difficulties which affect social workers, including investing in dedicated administrative support teams and IT systems and offering flexible working arrangements, and we will strive to continue to do so.

“We continue to be concerned that we are not recruiting and retaining enough social workers nationally. Local authorities are using their limited resources to encourage more people to choose social work as a career and to make them want to stay but a national recruitment and retention campaign, funded by the Department for Education, which clearly articulates that good social work can, and does change lives would undoubtably help with this endeavour.”

ENDS



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