Two in five social workers are thinking of leaving the profession in the face of job cuts, increased caseloads and rapidly deteriorating conditions, a survey has shown.
Almost all (94%) of the 400 social workers who responded to BASW – the College of Social Work’s online survey said it was now harder to carry out effective social work than it was this time last year.
Practitioners said staff shortages had become more of a problem in 2011, with 82% claiming their caseload had increased as a result. Forty per cent said they were considering a change of career.
“Workloads have become intolerable,” said one respondent.
Hilton Dawson, chief executive of BASW, said the findings were “every bit as shocking and alarming as we had feared”.
He said BASW, which has 13,250 members, intends to write to ministers to outline the impact of public spending cuts on social work services.
John Nawrockyi, secretary of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ workforce network, said the survey findings were “not entirely surprising” given the scale of recent cuts.
He said employers needed to talk to staff about changes to their priorities resulting from increased workloads. “You can’t just give people more and more work,” he added.
Nawrockyi encouraged employers to use the Social Work Task Force’s workload “health check” tool to monitor the impact of cuts on frontline staff.
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