Staff say unsuitable care packages ‘forced’ on Lancashire service users

Lancashire social workers are being forced to recommend unsuitable
care packages because the council’s commissioning strategy is
inadequate, a damning survey has revealed.

The survey, commissioned by public sector union Unison, found that
75 per cent of respondents said they had been forced to suggest
unsuitable care, and 72 per cent thought the recommendation a
“breach of professional ethics”.

Social workers said the strategy lacked the flexibility to
recommend bespoke care and affected their workload negatively. Some
77.5 per cent said that, to maintain minimum acceptable standards
of care, they were handling too many cases at any one time.

Job satisfaction was also low: 81 per cent said they had considered
leaving their job in the previous 12 months. Nearly 90 per cent
said staffing levels were inadequate, and more than 40 per cent
said they had decreased in the previous 12 months. Three-quarters
said absenteeism had increased as a result of staff being on sick

The two words most social workers said best described senior
management were “secretive” and “bullying”, although the majority
praised their own line managers for being “supportive” but

Blair McPherson, Lancashire Council’s head of planning and strategy
for social services, said the council was “surprised and concerned”
about the findings. It would hold a series of staff focus groups to
“dig a little deeper and identify the underlying issues”, he

“This may be part of a national picture rather than something
specific to Lancashire,” he added.

The Centre for Public Services was commissioned by Lancashire
Unison to conduct the research in March and April this year and the
results were sent to the county’s social workers at the end of

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