Public boost for social work profession

    Exclusive research commissioned by Community Care has revealed widespread support for social workers among the general public.

    The independent survey of 1,000 adults, sponsored by the General Social Care Council and the British Association of Social Workers, also reveals that long-term ill-health and disability top the public’s list of issues they worry about most for the future – a fact that will inevitably further raise the profile and perceived importance of social workers over time.

    Here is a full list of our survey findings. To comment on any of these, please email lauren.revans@rbi.co.uk.

    Headline Findings:

    93% of the public think the work social workers do in the local community is very or fairly important (73% very, 20% fairly).

    Two thirds of the general public would trust social workers to help them or their families (67%). This is largely unaffected by gender, age and social class.

    93% of those who have thought about moving to a new job that paid less but would be more personally rewarding think the work social workers do in the community is very or fairly important (77% very, 16% fairly).

    The one thing that more members of the general public worry about more than anything else when they think about the future for themselves and their families is long-term ill-health/disability.
    (Full list of public’s concerns for the future for themselves and their families:
    26% cite long-term ill health/disability as their main concern;
    10% cite global warming;
    10% cite crime levels;
    9% cite terrorism;
    9% cite old age;
    7% cite unemployment/poverty;
    7% cite educational opportunities;
    6% cite family break-up;
    5% cite drug or alcohol dependence;
    4% cite mental illness.)

    Other findings:

    96% of the general public think it is very or fairly important to support children with special needs and give them the opportunity to attend mainstream schools (81% very, 15% fairly).

    98% of the general public think it is very or fairly important to give parents caring for children with a disability support and regular breaks (88% very, 10% fairly).

    97% of the general public think it is very or fairly important to support people with learning difficulties to live independently (81% very, 16% fairly).

    96% of the general public think it is very or fairly important to support people living with mental illness and help them find employment (75% very, 21% fairly).

    95% of the general public think it is very or fairly important to support children whose parent or parents are experiencing alcohol or drug problems (80% very, 15% fairly).

    97% of the general public think it is very or fairly important to support older people to live in their own homes (82% very, 15% fairly).

    Only 5% of the general public think the work social workers do in the community is not important (3% not very important, 2% not at all important).

    Only 29% of the general public would not trust social workers to help them or their family.

    83% of those who wouldn’t trust social workers to help them or them family still think the work social workers do in the local community is very or fairly important (very 51%, fairly 32%).

    43% of the general public have thought about moving to a new job that paid less but would be more personally rewarding. This is slightly higher for women than men (47% versus 38%) and rises to 54% and 56% respectively for the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups.

    Two thirds of those who cite long-term ill-health/disability as their main concern when thinking about the future for themselves and their family would trust social workers to help; 31% would not.

    The telephone survey of 1,000 adults was carried out on behalf of Community Care between March 23 and March 25 2007 by GfK NOP.

     

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