Professional pride intact as social workers struggle with effect of cuts

Morale among local authority social workers is high even though many are struggling with increasing workloads and other fallout from budgets cuts, an exclusive Community Care survey has Stand up for Social Care 125x125found.

Almost nine out of 10 respondents to a survey commissioned as part of the Stand Up For Social Care campaign said they were proud of working in social care.

And 94 per cent agreed with the statement “social care is a profession worth fighting for – now more than ever”.

Nearly 1,000 local authority social workers took part in the survey.

However, 26 per cent of social workers admitted they were thinking of leaving the profession and more than three-quarters said they were affected by staff shortages.

More than three-quarters also felt  social care’s unique contribution to  improving clients’ lives was threatened by integration with the health service.

Seventy-eight per cent of those working with adults said NHS spending cuts were preventing them from doing their job properly, with a similar proportion stating they had been asked to take on tasks that  should have been done by health staff.

Lack of funding (45 per cent) and government policy (19 per cent) were the two main obstacles preventing them from doing their jobs effectively.

Nearly 80 per cent said they felt less secure about their professional identity than either doctors or nurses. And 79 per cent were demoralised by negative media coverage.

British Association of Social Workers chair Ray Jones said the results were broadly positive despite areas of concern.

“The pride in the job and willingness to stand up and be counted suggests that, in spite of everything, the vast majority of social workers still have their heads up,” he said.

“We need to ensure that enthusiasm is nurtured through setting out  clear professional competencies so that social workers don’t disappear under a mound of bureaucracy.”

Community Care acting editor Mark Ivory said: “Our readers did sound a note of caution over professional integration but that only serves to emphasise the importance of campaigning to boost the status of social care to ensure social workers do not become lost in multi-disciplinary teams.”

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