Government reveals average social worker caseload

New Department for Education measure marks best official estimate of demand on children's services staff

Picture: Image broker/rex/shutterstock
Picture: Image broker/rex/shutterstock

Social workers in children’s services have an average caseload of 16, according to the government’s best estimate.

The figure, included in a Department for Education (DfE) report on the social work workforce, is a new measure and marks the first time the government has published an estimate of frontline social worker caseloads based on mandatory returns from councils.

The DfE found social workers, including agency staff, held a total of 326,770 cases between them on 30 September 2016. When mapped against the number of case holding roles in children’s services, this was an average of 16.1 per social worker.

The report also revealed councils employed 5,330 agency social workers in children’s services in 2016, up 9.6% on the previous year.

However, the proportion of agency staff covering vacancies dropped from 79.2% to 72.6%, a finding the DfE said could reflect more councils drafting in additional agency social workers to clear “acute” case backlogs or manage seasonal peaks in demand.

The number of permanently employed social workers in children’s services rose 4.7%, from 26,500 in 2015 to 27,700 in 2016.  The number of vacant posts rose 1.3%, from 5,470 to 5,540. The turnover rate, an indicator of social workers quitting or switching jobs, dropped from 16% to 15.1%. The absence rate fell from 4% to 3.5%.

The DfE found just over half (54.2%) of social workers in children’s services were in case holding roles, with the others holding management or senior practitioner positions.

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77 Responses to Government reveals average social worker caseload

  1. Karen February 16, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    There is a flaw with these figures as i understand it- in that the ‘social workers including agency staff’ they ‘count’ includes any managers within social work teams- so the real numbers will be higher that the 16 quoted as in general we would not allocate cases to social work managers- indeed i’d be worried if we were because they need to stay freed up to supervise, support and lead thier teams. id happily be corrected but that is my understanding of the data

    • Kevin O'rourke February 16, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

      I agree whole heartedly. I’m ASYE and my case load is 17. My colleagues are holding well in excess of 20.

      • Anonymous February 16, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

        As an asye three years ago I held up to 28 cases. As a social now this is slightly lower but cases are super complex that one case alone could easily take one week and still be unresolved

        • ASYE Social Worker February 19, 2017 at 11:56 am #

          I am currently an ASYE within a London LA and my case load is 22. My colleagues have case loads of 25 each across the team, with a significant number of cases being unallocated and ‘managed on duty’. Managers do not hold cases within our LA, as Karen mentioned, they have been included in the calculation to present a figure which makes everything appear rosy, in reality this is not the case.

      • Ashleigh davies February 17, 2017 at 3:17 am #

        Kevin which LA are you with? Also ASYE and holding 30 cases.

    • Lesley Simmons February 19, 2017 at 8:45 am #

      I have never had a caseload this low and have worked throughout the northwest. I have had occasions where cases have suddenly been reallocated at the start of an Ofsted inspection to bring my caseload down. Numbers alone don’t give the whole picture as court work uses more hours at the beginning and end and crisis happen in child protection cases. Different local authorities have varying amounts of red tape for processes such as access to funding etc. Also as said there are non case holding workers such as managers, but also lower case holders such as senior/supervising social workers. It gives a false impression of what the typical social worker holds.

  2. Rosaline February 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    This is irresponsible data to average nationally, this does not reflect demographics, needs and complexities, which differ for each local authority.

    • Catherine J Hunter February 16, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

      The governments best estimate shouldn’t be relied upon. I would of liked further knowlege of the sample group, demographic patch etc.

    • stuart February 17, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

      And even if it did reflect those (and several other) variables, 16?!?!?
      According to my research 16 is the average mental age of the government. And all who sail in her.

    • Sarah Bolton February 20, 2017 at 9:48 pm #

      Exactly. This makes it appear that our job is manageable and that we can complete most of the work within the timescales. I think its time Theresa may visits the front line to see what our working week involves, until you do SW no one has any idea and are far from making judgements or plucking random figures and calling them average. Its an insult to the profession and hard work and payless hours people put in, to suggest such a low number.

  3. paula February 16, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    In my 11 year of working in the field of Children’s Services as both a front line CP Social Worker in 3 Inner and Outer London Local Authorities I have never come across anyone holding 16 cases. The number of cases held has ranged between 23 and 52. Perhaps the statement ‘When mapped against the number of case holding roles in children’s services’ is key here as it may fail to reflect that whilst those roles exist on paper they are often unfilled vacancies whereby other Social Workers are carrying the excess cases.

  4. Chris Hale February 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    What is also ignored is that newly qualified (AYSE) social workers usually have “capped” caseloads – lowering the crude average figure. In many authorities in my experience AYSE’s are the backbone of frontline teams. Another interesting statistic would be the average length of qualification of frontline social workers.

  5. Tuck your shirt in February 16, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    This is totally inaccurate. When they do ‘average’ in our LA they never account for part time workers so always reduces the ‘average’…..

    • Mel February 16, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

      And what about the worker who are in employment but off sick….? Bet that isn’t factored in either

  6. Melissa February 16, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    I’m a student on my final placement and I have 15 cases of various complexity, but a mix of CP and CIN, some going to PLO. I can just about cope but how any one has any more than this and manages to keep on top of everything I really don’t know! These published figures are nonsense. It all depends on the complexity of the case, the support and management oversight given and so on.. I know I have a lot to learn still but the caseload battle is a very scary prospect for a soon to be newly qualified SW!

    • Mrmoon February 16, 2017 at 6:58 pm #

      As a student you should not be holding CP cases let alone PLO! This is absolutely unacceptable of your placement agency to do this to you and you should raise this asap with your practice educator, very dangerous practice indeed. All CP cases must be held by a qualified social worker

      • Ian Buckley February 17, 2017 at 11:21 am #

        All student cases are officially held by their supervising social worker not the student.

      • Ian Buckley February 17, 2017 at 11:26 am #

        In 30 years of social work I never had less than 25 cases and niethe did anyone else. These are really dodgy stats and will not help social workers if the powers that be take them as true.

      • Margaret Logan February 17, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

        I totally agree, however this is not a “one off” this happens in some Local Authorities and needs to be addressed by HCPC as well as Ofsted.

    • Chrissy February 16, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

      CP as a Student that’s wholly unacceptable. Get regular supervision. Speak to yiur Practice Educator.

    • Gareth February 16, 2017 at 10:43 pm #

      You shouldn’t be case holding child protection as a nqsw let alone a student.

    • Rachel February 17, 2017 at 9:18 pm #

      As a student, final placement or not, you should not be holding a case load. You are able to shadow a complex case. But even if the cases you are working is held by a supervising social worker you must not complete visits or assessments. NQSW’S are not supposed to hold CP cases let alone a student, no matter hoe capable they are. You must raise this with your uni as a matter of urgency.

  7. Richard Leighton February 16, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    I question the veracity of these data. Although, in fairness, DfE did state that these are ‘experimental’ stats, meaning they are are very crude and open to correction. On a quick scan of the numbers and using the FTE data, to account for part-time/job share practitioners and including the 5k ‘agency’ workers, who, I have presumed, are caseholders, I get below 14 cases.

    I am with those who find these stats incredulous and echo the sentiments the, publishing such ‘experimental’ data are both troublesome and irresponsible. In DfE’s ‘blurb’, there is no information on the method of data collection or on the methodology by which ‘the average’ has been obtained. In simplistic terms, is DfE promoting a mode, median or mean caseholders figure? Is 16.1 the mean average (total cases x total caseholders, divided by 100) or a median average (all the number of cases held by caseholders, in numerical order, and 16.1 is right bang in the middle of that list) or are talking a modal average, (16.1 being the most common occuring number of cases held by 20k+ caseholding practitioners)?

    Disraeli told us that there are “lies, damned lies and statistics”. DfE has certainly continued this 130 year tradition of successive governments trotting out garbage and incorrect statistics, at an alarming rate.

  8. Borstal Boy February 16, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    More manipulative shenanigans from the Govt and “senior civil servants” to distract us away from what’s really wrong. I’ve been in teams where the caseload is double this figure and more.

    There will be a stack of cases in the pending pile for allocation at any one time.

    This is shameful and only seeks to downplay the problems that exist in teams up and down the land.

  9. Burnt Out! February 16, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

    Where is this mythical place that you talk of and how do I get a job there?

  10. Sharon Hughes February 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

    What total hog rot… my usual caseload is 32, currently sitting at 23…. I’ve been doing sw for ten years… first role case load was 67… so trott on and dream about this fantasy job in some lofty board room… get real

  11. Sharon Atkins Noade February 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

    This is inaccurate and shows how out of touch the Government really is with Children’s Services and the caseloads any Social Workers have.

  12. Jane Baxter February 16, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    Errr…43 cases before I went off with stress, now 23…sorry just checked my caselist…I mean 25 cases of varying complexity. I’ve worked for long enough to know that nothing changes, dispiriting as that may be.

  13. sandy beach February 16, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

    DofE publishes experimental figures – otherwise known as touting fake news, a common propaganda technique to create doubt, division and to manipulate to the agencies own agenda.
    More commonly used in general politics such as the insertion of ‘credible’ articles to raise doubt on climate change for the benefit of the self interested parties through there own funded ‘think tanks’ that place scientist’s articles in the press for example

    http://time.com/4664173/climate-change-denial-fake-news/

    Credible questioning that this article raises is as apllicable to the above DofE information, namely;
    1. Is the claim based on peer-reviewed work? or if tested does it stand out as coherent.
    2. Do the writers spend all their time disputing the reality of climate change? Or in this instance the role of SW’s?
    3. Is the data cherry-picked? Or is the report choosing the specific window of information that suits its agenda, with the wider data value being lost.
    4. Where was the news published? Or what is the reason for the news / info being published here, is there a bias, or interest for the organisation?

    It is interesting that many of these techniques are being taken from industry and are being applied by the government to discredit the public sector generally, including the police, prison and probation service, the various health services and social care and social work. There is no value placed on any of these actiivites by the current government -this is my opinon based on reading and considering information that is in the public arena and choices that the government is making, please feel free to fact check this yourself and make your own mind up.

  14. Sabine February 16, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    Oh the beauty of statistics! you can make them fit to almost anything……..
    16 cases for a fulltime worker was a dream. Even as a part-timer (22.5hrs/week) I frequently topped 20+ cases ( those you get allocated when you are not around…….

    I found that dangerous practice, and at the time I was also recovering from post-viral fatigue.

  15. Rachel February 16, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

    16 really?! Never seen anyone in our teams with 16…if they did maybe we would have better outcomes for children, more time with each child to fo meaningful direct work and have less over stressed and over worked staff who don’t burn out or go off on long term sick;

  16. Frances Sweeney February 16, 2017 at 6:45 pm #

    I find it very hard to believe that a social worker would have just 16 cases, especially with only 80% of vacancies filled nationwide. In all honesty the correct number could easily be 20 for a newly qualified worker and over 30 for an experienced worker. With such high case loads, it’s a miracle that more mistakes haven’t being made.

    Social workers want to have time to care, but sometimes that can be hard if a 30 minute visit requires 2hrs of paperwork to keep the CQC satisfied. If you’re the duty worker,everything else has to wait as you have to deal withwith everything that comes through your door.

  17. Sandra February 16, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

    teams in my area have in excess of 25 – what the hell is this! Totally inaccurate – totally out of touch with reality.

  18. Mitia February 16, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

    Are they assuming all people are working full time? What about part timers, non – case holders, people being off sick? SWs who carry complex cases only or ASYE on protected case load?

  19. Clare February 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    Those figures have no reflection of reality in my experience. A few years ago as a newly qualified I had 44 cases in varying complexity of child protection and child in need. In fact it led me to leave children services after 12 years service with an LA.
    Now in adults and would never return.

  20. Lm February 16, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

    Absolute crap. My second month as a newly qualified my case load hit 39. Currently 25 and I’m one of the lowest on my team.

  21. Donna February 16, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    and now I have finished laughing at how ridiculous the government figures are I will pick myself up off the floor and recall the last time I had 16 cases. Hmmmm when was that again oh I know never !!!!!!!

  22. Andy Davies February 16, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

    I bet they have included part time social workers, I’ve known them to have 16 cases.

  23. Julie Owen February 16, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

    Does this include Managers and other case non case holders? Workers on sick leave, maternity leave part time workers or ASYE workers on protected caseloads? It is a more sophisticated equation than this many cases and this many workers =
    In my Authority on CP team workers are averaging 28 cases. But we keep ASYE at 15-18. I am not aware of neighbouring Authorities being better and some are worse!
    This kind of reporting frustrates workers

  24. Domino February 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm #

    I have recently resigned as I had a caseload of 23 and I was still not undertaking my ASYE accredited year. I had a great PS but I knew my caseload was going to get bigger with experience and more complex. I felt like a machine churning out reports but spending less time with families.

  25. Claire February 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm #

    The last 2 months averaging a case load just under 50. Please can we get realistic with these ridiculous and quite offensive “statistics” that only serve to undermine the over worked, under valued and generally despised people that are Social Workers. This publication is utterly ridiculous!!

  26. Helen Woodall February 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

    Any stats on the caseload holding of Adult Social Workers?

    • Clare February 17, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

      I’m now in older adult mental health and hold generally around 18- 20 – max has been 26

      • Tim February 21, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

        I have worked in adult services and mental health over the last two years. In adults caseloads were 120+ and in MH it has been 80+ with duty commitments of 2-3 days a week.

  27. Iwanttoworkthere! February 16, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

    What a load of rubbish! This is based on case holding and non case holding social workers along with NQSW who SHOULD have a protected case load! 6 years qualified and my case load over the years has ranged from numbers in the early 20’s to late 60’s. Flawed data like this is dangerous and as social workers who have to work in an evidence based manner I find it really concerning that the government have set themselves much lower standards… concerned , not surprised

  28. Jack February 16, 2017 at 11:09 pm #

    Does anyone know the definition of ‘case’? Is it a single family or each child? I ask because in Western Australia where I work, a case is a family regardless of number of children, and we are capped at 15 cases/families. Would be useful for the comparison.

    • Karl Hind February 17, 2017 at 11:30 pm #

      This is key. Can anyone answer this? If ‘cases’ refers to ‘families’ then 16 makes a lot more sense.

    • Juliet February 18, 2017 at 12:53 am #

      Jack, cases where I work count for a family rather than individuals. One of my cases for example has 6 kids and my work is not only with the kids but parents and their supports given the complexity. So yes that would be one case. Where I were to complete reports, they would have to be individual reports rather than one reports.

      So disheartening for whoever makes up such stats that don’t bear any semblance to what is actually on ground

  29. Another burnt out and unwell Social Worker February 16, 2017 at 11:36 pm #

    I’ve held between 24-29 cases over the last five years. The ten years prior to that my case load was around 20-22. Even newly qualified workers in the LA I have been based can hold up to 22 cases. It’s not safe and workers have an impossible task to juggle everything. I can’t imagine having 30 plus cases!! Can you even do the bare minimum for each child and safeguard appropriately with that number? I doubt it. I am currently taking time out of the profession as my physical health has deteriorated to the point that I am chronically ill, it may be work related, it may not… I am feeling a huge difference in my own wellbeing however after just a few weeks out. I feel sad for those who do not have this option and have to keep working at such pace and under what in my view are highly exploitative conditions.

  30. suze February 17, 2017 at 6:41 am #

    I am ayse and case load has never been below 25. As a student it was 16-19. Stats again have been massaged I think. Government needs to wake who are they trying to kid

  31. Pip Thomas February 17, 2017 at 7:19 am #

    So this is saying an average rate of 16.5% (ish) vacancy rate and so 53917 cases to be shared out as no cases wait for allocation. This increases case holding to 18. Still a very low number in my experience. Hands up anyone who averages a case load if 16- what LA are u in? Can we have a snapshot of social workers in post and cases allocated please.

  32. Pfft! February 17, 2017 at 8:10 am #

    Does that mean I can ignore my additional 20 cases? Accurate stats as always!! X

    • Kaybee February 17, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

      Seriously though……is there an opportunity for children’s social workers to use this ‘evidence’to question the caseload in their organisations? Could be leverage……unless it course children’s service directors and LAs want to challenge these stats ??

  33. Sarah Lawson February 17, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    I don’t see how this can be right! Caseloads with in the authority I work for in CP teams social workers are holding 30-40 cases. ASYEs are holding 20 -28 cases as a reduced case load, as an assistant team manager I am supposed to hold a small complex caseload , that is currently 16! These figures are a poor reflection of many CP teams and make it seem like our workloads are reasonable when this is very much not the case, the rate of social work burnout is high and the government and ofsted need to address this urgently with local aurhorities that allow social workers to hold such an unrealistic caseload!

  34. Paul February 17, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    Typical of government. Halve the figure. As a locum I have never worked somewhere where average is not mid to high twenties and have worked in a few local authorities.

  35. S Saddler February 17, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    I have never held 16 cases at front line, CP/CIN ever!?!

    • S Saddler February 17, 2017 at 11:42 am #

      AS in I have held way over and above this, minimum has been 20 but this is extremely rare

  36. stuart February 17, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    I see Rotherham are boasting along the lines of ‘come and work for us if you want a smaller caseload, ours is 15-20 per SW.’

    Think they might struggle to attract too many of the rest of us who are already on only 16….

  37. elaine February 17, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    Also interested to hear about this in adult social work

  38. Scoobydoo February 17, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Hmm. Struggling with these statistics, even if sw did have 16 cases the figure’s don’t consider the complexity or the impact of the lack of resources and staffing in partner agencies. I hold a strong opinion that sw as we know it will end and privatisation will prevail.

  39. anonymous February 17, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    I almost fell off my chair when i read this. Totally inaccurate! I think there are many SW who have 6 times as much! Myself included. So They really need to do a thorough job in estimating the statistics especially in the different areas and Organizations which are not so lucky to boast with a 16+ case load.

  40. Kaybee February 17, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

    Have got to ask………who is doing any number crunching with caseloads for Social Workers in adult social care. …………………………….tumbleweed moment

  41. Richard February 17, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

    It is insulting to see this misleading statistic reported. Also worrying if central gov thinks this is where things are at.

    Come show us social workers some love and see what it’s really like to help society, Mr Timpson.

  42. Mr Happy February 17, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

    What would be more useful would be if the DoE said what a manageable caseload is because until that happens how can any employer say that a persons caseload is manageable and how can an employee say it isn’t. The absence of a workload management tool measuring workloads based on average timings for social work tasks taken from independent workplace research agreed by trade unions, means that managers a can successfully use tactics to ignore unreasonable workloads making comments like that person has more cases or that team has more cases. Unions need to earn their subs and get onto it at a national level.

  43. John pilcher February 17, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

    What nonsense you can just do the number game!! I had a silly case load of 23 foster families and did silly hours to try and keep up with visits and recordings as set by OFSTED. When back in the LA 3 days a week I has a mixed case load and again more focused on ticking OFSTED boxes rather than focusing on social work. Yes what we do needs measuring but the whole system is in a mess!!! we have children placed in the same residential resources being visited by different SW from the same LA on different days andReviews etc on children from the same LA taking place on 2 days in the same week taking up 2 whole days of when it could have been done in one. There appears a loss of management skills and no accountability for the spending of tax payers money. The poor SW gets the blame, has a break down or just leaves feeling that they are not able to bring about the changes to children lifes. I have seen case loads of low numbers but in proceedings and are so complex that the pressures are extreme so even with low numbers the demands are excesive and a recioe for mistakes etc. rant over.

  44. Hortense February 17, 2017 at 10:25 pm #

    What an insullting report from government. I don’t know anyone who only has a caseload of 16. In adult care learning disability teams workers routinely have 40 to 50 cases.

  45. Neil Plougjman February 18, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    Sadly the Politcal agenda of a government that is clearly hell bent on destroying the public sector whilst undermining the credibility and complexity of Local Authority Docidl Roth to keep down wages and terms and conditions of employment … always will be servants or dlaves of the state..
    Nationally it’s time for Social Workers to stand together and care for each other… many may disagree but it’s time for Sws to take industrial action and bring the LGA and the DofE to the negotiating table. We need a national pay grading and funding structure we need national case management structure and be taken and managed centrally outside of Local authority control – the profession requires regulation and government departmental (civil servant) association and management.
    I urge ALL Social Workers to Join UNISON and work with this national campaign for recognition respect and regulation as a stand alone centrally government funded profession .
    neill.ploughman@unisondc.co.uk

  46. L A worker 2 February 19, 2017 at 8:11 pm #

    Neill not sure if we all joined unison they would do anything for us. I gave seen very little evidence of challenge. As an authority we are considering another new restructure not even 2 years since the last and 2 years before that. Social workers see that a new manager comes in and wants to put their stamp on things and then sells it corporately as a money saver. How can we develop stability in our social work teams, offer good emotional care and children consistency when corporate management lack consistency and the ability to invest in what they set out to do.

  47. paul owen February 20, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    Ha Ha, what a load of tosh. I’ve got 37!!

    I’ve been here for 16 years and never had less than 20 other than my first week, most of my colleagues are on 25+

    Next they’ll be saying that our systems are fit for purpose and that the senior managers know what they are doing when they decide to change everything.

    What a slap round the chops for hard working and committed staff who have to work many extra hours just to try to keep on top of pointless paperwork and procedures.

  48. Longtime SW February 20, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    Average caseload of 16 is a lie – please feel free to sue/sanction me – (I will see you in an industrial tribunal if you do)

    – whereas you provide no evidence I have evidence from many years of caseloads of never less than 25 (except when closing and then within 2 – 3 days new allocations take the caseload back up gain)
    – all this on a contracted work hours of 37

    – I have said it before the mathematics (if the Govt are interested in Statistics) are a nonsense – I intend to work my hours, take my TOIL and see how/where it falls when senior managers have to answer to Ofsted etc as to why there are not enough social care (adult or children) staff to meet the demand

  49. Dani February 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    In my service the average case was recorded as lower yet the reality was averaging 22. There is a full time worker on16 but it is temporary. However it belies the issues of throughout no sooner than one case is coming to an end others are allocated even while duties remain outstanding. It’s no use joining unison they are doing nothing to rectify the issue and as for radical sw it is long gone.

  50. Kim February 20, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

    16!!!!!!!!! Are they for real!!!!!!!!!!! Try 48 upwards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AS SOCIAL WORKERS HOW DO WE CHALLENGE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Phil Sanderson February 20, 2017 at 9:18 pm #

    I think Gove got these figures from Donald Trump “i’m telling you Michael its sixteen!”

  52. Steve February 21, 2017 at 5:00 pm #

    What complete rubbish. I have been in the profession for approaching 15 years and regardless of which team or LA have never had less than 30 clients, and often above 40. That has been the experience of my colleagues at the time. The caseloads need to reduce significantly to make any real changes for service users. If local authorities are serious about retaining staff and reducing high levels of sick leave they need to support the social workers who entered the profession with noble intentions.

  53. Jill Palmer February 28, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    I’ve worked with adults (anyone over 18) for the past 17 years. My caseload is usually not more than 32, and I try to keep it under 30 – not that it’s all down to me of course. But I am not afraid to be very clear about what I can’t do. 16 is a joke for anyone in any service. And as we all know, numbers alone do not reflect complexity. I supervised someone who was given 2 cases when they joined the service, and they were so complex that they took up all the time for the 2 of us for many weeks.

  54. Denise Green March 1, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    I have been a social worker for over 20 years. I have never had a case load of less than 30, more often it has been around 50. I don’t know any social workers in Local Authority work who are any different.
    Statistics and number crunching data can be made to say whatever people want it to. They do not however reflect how time consuming a single case can be.
    Unless politicians spend time on the front line, there will never be an understanding of the pressures in social work.

  55. Andrew March 9, 2017 at 9:00 pm #

    I have been a social worker and manager for 17 years.

    These figures are completely misleading as they fail to take account of geographical & demographic differences as well as the complexity or weighting of cases some of which are highly complex and time consuming. Additionally, over the years, standard and expectations regarding the quality of work produced by social workers alongside with the pressures of frequent re-organisations following Ofsted inspections have risen but the provision of essential key services which have made a significant contribution to safeguarding children & supporting families has significantly decreased and the Local Authorities budgets have been consistently reduced. A double edged sword which has sometimes made it nigh impossible for LA’s to meet their targets not to mention placing decent hard working social workers and aligned staff under tremendous emotional pressured in many cases has a detrimental impact on their physical & mental health. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that staff often have to go sick to recover.