Social workers have the wide support of the public, with 93% saying the work practitioners do is very or fairly important, exclusive new research for Community Care reveals.
British Association of Social Workers chief executive Ian Johnston said the findings, in an independent telephone survey of 1,000 people, showed the public recognised the challenges that social workers faced.
The poll, sponsored by BASW and the General Social Care Council, also reveals that two-thirds of the public would trust social workers to help them or their families – sentiments that appear largely unaffected by gender, age or social class.
The vote of confidence is a welcome boost for social workers. It comes as a government-commissioned report by Dame Denise Platt has found that social care lacks confidence, making it “timid” in its vision for services.
GSCC chief executive Lynne Berry (pictured) said the survey findings were proof that recent developments to raise the standing and confidence of the profession were already making a difference.
She said important factors included the introduction of the three-year social work degree, the registration and regulation of social workers, the development of the codes of practice, and the renewed focus on continuing professional development for social workers once they were in post.
“It is all about making sure social workers are a trained and trusted profession,” Berry said. “When most professions are going down in people’s perception and trust levels are going down, these findings show that social workers are going up.”
BASW chief executive Ian Johnston said he was “absolutely delighted” at the level of public support, but added that he was not surprised. “I know how much people value good social work when they need it,” he said. “I think the public do realise the challenges social workers face.”
Welcoming the findings, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Anne Williams said they were “a positive endorsement of all the really good work that goes on by social workers, whatever sector they work in”.
98% of people think it is very or fairly important to give parents caring for children with a disability support and regular breaks.
97% of people think it is very or fairly important to support people with learning disabilities to live independently.
96% of people think it is very or fairly important to support people living with mental illness and help them find employment.
95% of people think it is very or fairly important to support children whose parents have alcohol or drug problems.
96% of people think it is very or fairly important to support children with special needs and give them the chance to attend mainstream schools.
More exclusive survey findings
Chronic illness tops people’s list of fears for the future
Social workers win public backing in GSCC and BASW poll
General Social Care Council
British Association of Social Workers
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