Scie chair Bowman demands action to stem social worker exodus

The exodus of practitioners from local authority social work will continue unless the government addresses issues of funding and workload, the National Children and Adult Services Conference heard yesterday.


Speaking at the launch of the Conservative Party’s Social Workers’ Commission report , Social Care Institute for Excellence chair and commission member Allan Bowman said it had heard from a number of ex-council practitioners.


He said they told the commission they had left local authority practice because of workload pressures and lack of supervision. He said the message to government was that without extra resources “many more people will move out of local authority social work”.


Bowman was responding to comments from Bracknell Forest Council executive member for children’s services Gareth Barnard, who said the government’s comprehensive spending review settlement for local government would increase pressures on social workers.


Referring to the 1% annual real terms increase in government funding for 2008-11, Barnard said: “One of the consequences will be increased pressure on caseloads for social workers, less supervision and training. I’m not convinced that many people understand the issue of burnout for social workers.”


The Tory commission, which was set up to review the role, status and image of children’s practitioners, called for an extension in the social work degree to four years and the reintroduction of consultant social worker posts to enable experienced practitioners to stay at the frontline.


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