Social workers to be forced to wear government-approved uniforms

Ministers hope the move will boost public awareness of the profession

Photo: Narong Jongsirikul/Fotolia


Social workers will be forced to wear government-approved uniforms to work, under shock plans tabled this week.

Ministers say the move will boost public awareness of the profession. However, the proposals have been branded “devastating” by the big sandal and knitwear producers.

The plans, announced by the minister for public decency Peter Ian Staker, are said to be a reaction to him seeing a social worker wearing flares in the office.

“Today’s announcement is part of a wider government agenda to put clamping down on flares at the heart of all we do,” Staker said.

He said the new uniforms would add to the professional status of the social work workforce.

“We’ve spoken a lot about raising the status of social work so the profession is seen in the same way by the public as lawyers or medics, and rather than paying them lawyers’ fees, we are going to insist on more pant-suits,” Staker said.

Staker also said the government will invest £4 million into ‘Hemline’, a new fast-track clothing scheme he hopes will entice the “best and brightest” colours into social work daywear.

April Loof, spokesperson for The UK Association of Social Work, expressed concerns about the plans.

“The government have made no commitment to ensuring the materials used in the uniforms will be organic, and fairly sourced.

“This, as well as ensuring that the footwear is comfortable, are now our number one priorities.”

More from Community Care

36 Responses to Social workers to be forced to wear government-approved uniforms

  1. Carrie April 1, 2017 at 12:16 am #


    • Fauzia April 1, 2017 at 8:52 am #

      April Fool’s

  2. Carrie April 1, 2017 at 12:16 am #

    not in this lifetime!

  3. VW April 1, 2017 at 12:50 am #

    Ha, ha, April Loof aka April fool!

  4. Misha Kurkova April 1, 2017 at 7:51 am #

    What happened to the compulsory Citroen 2CV? Standards are slipping

  5. GD April 1, 2017 at 7:52 am #

    I am outraged. A uniform to turn us into corporate morons. This shocks and offends me to my core. I am livid!

  6. Zoe April 1, 2017 at 8:01 am #

    Yes please. Already dictated what to think by the courts. Might as well be dictated on what to wear.

  7. Veteran social worker too April 1, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    With a big badge that says ‘hit me’

  8. A April 1, 2017 at 8:13 am #


  9. Richard Leighton April 1, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    How very dare the Minister. Is he trying the take the piss? If we are to wear a uniform, we will be maked as and more open to accusations of ‘agents of the State’, only, in a uniform, we will look like and be accused of being ‘Corporate Stooges’. Loof is a fool, if she thinks government will be open to suggestions of make or quality; their commitment to any quality in social work is weak and shambollic.

    It’s time we, as a profession, made a stand and make our mark. We must stand firm against these errosions of our professional standards and voice. Strikes and sit-ins will only negatively impact our service users. To get our voices heard, make our mark and get ourselves noticed, I advocate that we refuse to heed the fascist imposition of meaningless clothing standards, showing our dissatisfaction by wearing NOTHING to work, until P I Staker MP backs down and lets us continue to wear what we want, to work. I’ve only recently bulk bought leather sandals and knitted Cardigans, to last for about 20 years! 😉

    • Andrea Sabin April 1, 2017 at 9:11 am #

      Love this, Richard Leighton

    • georgette April 2, 2017 at 9:23 am #


    • Risi Batchelor April 3, 2017 at 8:46 am #

      Spot on Richard! Social workers engage with some very vulnerable people who oftentimes have difficulties relating to people in authority including trust issues; a major stumbling block when attempts are made to form effective therapeutic relationship with them. How is wearing uniforms which will immediately portray power dynamics between the worker and the service user be expected to help? You are out of order, Minister!

  10. Sinead April 1, 2017 at 8:30 am #

    This is typical of the government rather than highlighting my profession for the excellent work they do under extreme pressures as well as limited resources they decide under a public school focus group that uniforms are the best way forward. Seriously how much public money that ingenuous idea cost taken away from front line services

  11. Terry Unicorn April 1, 2017 at 8:39 am #

    About time too, scruffy set of Herbert’s. They look like they’ve not changed since they were protesting at Greenham Common 30 years ago.

  12. Gary Moore April 1, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    Pretty weak Aprils Fool joke lol

  13. GP April 1, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    The question is not so much where does it end but where does it begin? Will this be phased into BA and MA university courses – perhaps at the readiness for practice assessment stage – or introduced into the ASYE?

    Surely this stifles students’ abilities to express themselves – where does tie-dye and glitter or highly patterned 70s jumpers fit in with this new legislation?

    The draft I’ve seen suggests adding to PCF1 “Demonstrate an ability to not look like you’ve dressed in the dark or covered in glue and rolled in a jumble sale”.

    This raises additional sensitivities around working with different cultures and how, as workers, we may have to ‘dress empathically’.

    In times of austerity how can a profession having to work within financial restraints be expected to spend on mirrors and dressing rooms within the workplace – because that’s what this will lead to! They really need to go back to the design board on this one!

    • Carrie April 1, 2017 at 10:29 am #

      HAHAHA @ PCF 1 !…think i have failed the ASYE already in that case!

  14. Gwenster April 1, 2017 at 9:37 am #

    So apparently if we go into people’s homes, those people who are often in poverty, unemployed, and struggling. They are going to relate and respond to us better in a suit, looking like we are the type of people who will condescend their every word and look like we have never known what poverty is in our lives. It’s far better than jeans and a top, that not only makes us look less pompous, but won’t embarrass the hell out of the service users when we turn up at their door, or scare them by looking too official. Not to mention comfort. There’s always room for comfort.

  15. Jj April 1, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    Good one ….. April Fools day prank#

  16. Suse April 1, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    Anyone noticed the date today…….. ??

  17. Diane April 1, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    I love this idea 3x a week.

  18. Nicole April 1, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Fantastic idea! Can we all wear our graduation gowns and mortar boards?? What say you, Mr P I Staker? Love it! x

  19. Kate April 1, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    Well I think this is a good idea. I spend valuable time figuring out what to wear that I could spend sleeping! 😉

  20. Andrew April 1, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    I did once once engender a near riot when I organised some hi-vis jackets with ‘Social Worker’ on the back to use in a civil emergency A picture of a target was suggested as more useful for our clients & communities

  21. VH April 1, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    yeah I will play on the swings get dirt on it and be proud when a kid or baby throws up on it lol. Suit will distance children and families more and become another barrier we have to work again we work with families !!!!!

  22. Matt April 1, 2017 at 12:10 pm #
  23. Catherine J Hunter April 1, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    Unbelievable. Totally inappropriate. Surely there are more important things to think about.

  24. A April 1, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    This is silly. Its not about what we wear its about the work we do. So long as what we wear isnt offending then what should it matter

  25. Julie April 1, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    At least we can claim a tax allowance for uniform and cleaning.

  26. Pam April 1, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

    April fools day!!!!!!

  27. ASabin April 1, 2017 at 10:50 pm #

    Absolute blunder!! These ministers do not seem to know anything about Health And Safety issues! Better be a cleaner and have peace of mind than walking around in “I am a social worker” clothes.

  28. Liz April 2, 2017 at 12:34 am #

    They said absolute power corrupts absolutely. In an era when social workers are under intense pressures to balance meeting the needs of service users against serious resource shortages, how will uniform promote social work status? The pubic is concerned about social care funding, not school uniform for social workers. It is very sad that a government minister is more concerned about how social workers look than the service they provide to the most vulnerable in the society. It only goes to show how detached some people in high places in government are from the people they govern. He may need some education on what social workers do in all aspects of societal life. They are not children but dignified adults with compassion that motivate their sacrifices for others despite daily challenges associated with their work. If the minister wants to promote social workers status, he can start by taking phone calls just for an hour on the front line before he begins to make his recommendations.

  29. Siyabonga Chotho April 2, 2017 at 6:29 am #

    Truly speaking, GP is telling the truth, the way in which social workers wear should accommodate a variety of cultures.

  30. georgette April 2, 2017 at 9:26 am #

    Hilarious how some commentators have not understood this was an April Fool’s article.

  31. Tracey mcintyre April 2, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

    4 million should be spent on social care not stupid uniform what is this government thinking about or maybe they are thinking the monies that have will get from the extra tax they will receive by forcing people to come IR35 will pay for this new brainstorm what a joke