Social Work Taskforce: Unison and BASW vow to tackle caseloads

Members of the Social Work Taskforce have pledged to tackle the workload, supervision and “identity” problems facing practitioners during its review of the profession in England, starting this month.

This week, ministers announced the 11 people who will join chair Moira Gibb and vice-chairs Andrew Webb and Bob Reitemeier on the taskforce, which is due to report this summer.

Unison and BASW on social work taskforce

Along with The Sun’s agony aunt, Deidre Sanders, they include British Association of Social Workers professional officer for England Bridget Robb and Helga Pile, Unison’s national officer for social care. Both told Community Care they would lobby for changes to reduce unreasonable demands on social workers’ time, creating opportunities for more face-to-face contact with service users.

Both Unison, which represents 40,000 social workers, and BASW, with 11,500 members, want to see better access to post-qualifying training.

Pile, whose union issued a ten-point plan to improve child protection this week (see story opposite), will argue that employers should ring-fence study time for staff wishing to take post-qualifying training.

Supervision needs to improve

Both said supervision needed to improve, and Robb said the social workers managed by professionals from other disciplines in multi-agency environments should have access to supervision from experienced social workers.

Pile also backed the development of “grow your own” training schemes, in which employers support care workers through the social work degree, while there was a “large cohort of social workers who have left in the last few years” who could be attracted back.

The Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families announced this week that one of the taskforce’s first priorities will be to review IT systems used by practitioners for case management, particularly the controversial integrated children’s system.

Have your say on the membership of the taskforce

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