Community Care is studying the extent of burnout in UK social workers

Community Care has commissioned Queens University to help us undertake what we hope will be the largest study of social worker burnout in the UK

As part of our Stand Up For Social Work Campaign, Community Care is conducting what we hope will be the largest investigation of social worker burnout in the UK.

Community Care commissioned Paula McFadden of Queen’s University, Belfast, to help us design the survey and analyse the results. McFadden has already undertaken studies of burnout amongst child protection social workers in Northern Ireland.

Stress levels are rising

Our annual stress surveys have shown stress levels increasing year on year. In 2014 over 2000 social workers responded to our survey and more than 80% said they felt unable to do their jobs properly because of the stress caused by increasing demand, rising vacancy levels and unmanageable caseloads.

Yet these surveys are often dismissed in some quarters as a self-selecting, unscientific representation of the problem.

This time we are using the Maslach Burnout Inventory, a globally recognised, scientific measure of burnout across the caring professions. It will be analysed against key demographic information such as caseloads and levels of supervision.

Scientific proof of the problem

The survey is now closed and we are analysing the responses; the results will be published shortly. We hope that being one of the largest studies of its kind, the results will help educate ministers, MPs, employers and senior managers on the extent of burnout amongst the profession and the dangers this presents for service users.

Support for frontline staff and managers

As part of our campaign commitment to supporting social workers in their roles, we are offering selected expert-written guides from Community Care Inform that can help with some of the factors that lead to burnout free for a limited period. You can find help and information on improving your emotional resilience and safe caseload allocation in these downloadable guides.

You can join our Stand up for Social Work campaign by:

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