Three out of five social workers in England have little or no awareness of the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) six months on from the programme’s launch, a poll by a social work membership body has suggested.
One in five of the 182 respondents to the British Association of Social Workers’ (BASW) survey said they were “not at all familiar” and two out of five were “somewhat familiar” with the ASYE. Only 17% said they were “very familiar” with the scheme.
The ASYE replaced the programmes of support for newly qualified social workers in England in September 2012, but employers are under no obligation to offer it to staff.
BASW said the survey backed up its concerns the ability and willingness of social work departments to deliver such a programme at a time of budget cuts.
One of the association’s professional officers, Joe Godden, said: “The scheme is welcome in principle, but the rollout and implementation has been patchy and confusing. Local authorities particularly do not appear focused on long-term workforce planning, but on short-term fixes evident by the repeated recruitment adverts for staff with at least three years’ experience.
“The reality of a struggling economy, the decrease in funding for public sector provision and the increased demand on services does not bode well for the smooth running of such an important year.”
Sharon Allen, chief executive of Skills for Care, said: “There have been an increased number of newly qualified social workers registered for the ASYE in 2012-13 by 130 employers in adult services; a rise of 40% on the previous year. Three quarters of local authorities, where the majority of NQSWs are employed, have joined the programme with a number of the others indicating they will sign up in 2014-15.
“But there is no room for complacency and significant effort has been put into awareness raising and supporting implementation of ASYE across the voluntary and private sector by Skills for Care, backed up by sending information on the ASYE programme to all universities in autumn 2012 for distribution to last year’s graduates and for circulation to final year students.”