I’m leaving social work, but I wish it wasn’t this way

An experienced social worker talks about why he has decided to leave the profession he once loved

leaving job, resignation

By Socialis Laborator

Community Care’s latest social work jobseeker survey found one in 10 social workers is now looking outside of the profession for a new job. I’m one of them.

I have been in social work for 15 years and over that time I’ve seen it change with the impact of austerity, government changes, Ofsted inspections, inquiries and reviews and what feels like the ever-shifting sands of expectations.

My vigour to assist and protect children remains strong, but now whenever I take a moment to stop and reflect on what I do each day I realise I am doing more social policing than protective work. This feels endlessly challenging to the values and the ethos that prompted me to join the profession.

No career options open to me

I feel so ground down by systems to the point where I don’t regard myself as particularly well-equipped, safe, or supported to safeguard children at the start of their lives. This is not the view of my manager who regards me as a stalwart within the team, able to absorb endlessly rising caseloads.

I figure when things have got that bad then it’s time to get out.

Some might say I’m just battle weary and have been at the frontline of practice for too long. This could well be true, but I never felt like I had a lot of career options open to me.

Sleepless nights

Management was always the obvious choice, but I don’t see it as particularly appealing. Even if you work in a smaller local authority you are still managing 6-8 social workers – that’s around 150-180 children to take responsibility for. In my head that equates to a lot of sleepless nights.

You then add in key performance indicators, endless lists of statistics, liaising and negotiating with disgruntled staff…well, it’s not the most warming of offers to get you out of bed on a cold Monday morning.

I’d like to be able to share my experiences and the knowledge that I have built up with the next generation. To be able to inspire them, but I just don’t feel able to give confidence to a newly qualified social worker about a profession that I now find so debilitating. My lessons feel cynical – that you’ll never be able to change the system, as ridiculous as some of the requirements are.

Any ‘resilience’ I have built up over those years now feels as if it has come at a high cost to my motivation.

Perhaps, if I’d been given the option a little earlier in my career to take part in academies, teach programmes or use my experience to help promote great practice, I might be in a different position. But this kind of creative thinking about social worker career progression is only just beginning in a few local authorities and is too late for me.

Instead I leave meetings feeling scolded like a little boy for not completing paperwork and constantly getting it wrong because ‘what we wanted yesterday is no longer what we want today’.

And even as I prepare to leave, I feel helpless to give any real, honest feedback as to the reasons I will be going for fear of getting a bad reference. Hence, why I have decided to write this article anonymously.

Listen to your experienced social workers

If anyone in authority is reading this then I would urge you to stop and take some time just to listen to your experienced social workers. Be creative about their roles and options. It should be a priority for you to ensure they hold onto that precious enthusiasm and passion that makes all the difference to children, families and newly qualified social workers entering the profession.

Don’t just accept the exodus because experienced workers take with them some very hard-won lessons, understanding and skills.

Help us to help others. Please.

It’s too late for me. I don’t even feel any pain about wanting to leave now. I did, but that’s long-gone and there is now an emptiness where my spirit used to be.

I’ll never regret coming into social work and I hope I have made a difference to some people but the time has come for me to get out of the job I once loved so greatly.

Socialis Laborator is a pseudonym for a social worker with 15 years experience working with children and families in England.

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46 Responses to I’m leaving social work, but I wish it wasn’t this way

  1. Firdia February 18, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

    I found this comment to be very candid. Thanks for the honesty. Best of luck in your new endeavours. I think that social work has been besieged by targets, managerialism, regulation and evidence based practice. It is in a state of constant change and the things that draw people in to social work in terms of charism are no longer catered for. Social Work is being defined by everyone except social workers. There is actually no place for a profession that purports to uphold civil liberties and human rights. The expectation is placed upon us to uphold everything that others say we need to uphold without anyone else needing to. We are isolated and anything that equates with dealing with injustice, inequality and social exclusion remains in the conceptual domain whilst we become emersed in bureaucracy of mindless proportions and meaningless. I am not sure that we are actually doing social work. The relentless reviews, changes, reforms leave you feeling like a pawn on a conveyer belt with no choice about direction. There are many of us who feel sad about the direction in social work and the absence of a social work voice.

    • Lisa J-D February 20, 2019 at 12:48 am #

      Well said, I wholeheartedly agree. Since I qualified in 2003, the job has changed beyond all recognition. We no longer work with people, instead, we answer to performance indicators and government statistics. We have lost our way, totally. No P.I.’s are worth more than the people we work with. Get it right!!! The balance is all wrong.

      • Andrew February 21, 2019 at 4:09 pm #

        I fully agree. I began in social work in 1998. I used to enjoy my work – with people. Gradually the mindless and wastefulness of bureaucracy wore me down – Not the work however demanding – untill I took early retirement out of sheer frustration last autumn.

  2. Sian February 18, 2019 at 3:04 pm #

    Reading this article, left me with an overwhelming sense of sadness. Social work at the front line used to be well supported with close knit teams and experienced management that had time to listen. Bureaucracy and managerialism have got in the way of what should be a people centred service.

    Experienced workers are like gold dust and should be valued much more than they are.

    • George Gale February 19, 2019 at 2:17 pm #

      I am not a social worker but i read your comment which shows there are some even if minority who put families before targets, able to think beyond being a pawn. I’m 66 lost grandson follow discovery he not at fault diagnosed ADHD,autism, asburgess, after few years of quote we can turn him into acceptable person, yes they did now a serial criminal back in prison, As for the older SOC serv guys, they life skilled, Managers who allowed guys use brain, instead of the as handbook in tow, kids left child minders to rear, no life skills seems just a desire feed thier ego. YOU ARE giving impression old values respect

      • Lisa J-D February 20, 2019 at 12:49 am #

        Thank you

    • Andrea Eileen Jones February 19, 2019 at 8:05 pm #

      I am doing a degree in children and familes. Reading this is depressing at the thought of not helping because of the red tape involved your hands are tied really. It sounds to me as though there are too many chieves and not enough indians.

  3. Ronnie Similie February 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm #

    I’m so sad and sorry to read this article and to hear that an experienced and intelligent person is leaving the profession.

  4. sabine February 18, 2019 at 4:05 pm #

    I have been there some years ago for similar reasons. it was the best I could do, because it gave me a new lease of energy, and I was actually looking forward to going to work (project work with young people working in a range of settings). Skills we gained as social workers were transferable. I also had a better work life balance…

  5. Jules February 18, 2019 at 7:44 pm #

    After 25 years of working in child protection. I felt pretty much worn out. I took early retirement. After a 6 month break, I worked in a parenting assessment unit for a while, and now work in MASH. I love it.

    • Yasin L February 18, 2019 at 10:52 pm #

      I am also a student social work but on my first placement and I have decided I will stick my efforts to MASH too as I will last a bit longer in the profession.


  6. Deb February 18, 2019 at 8:02 pm #

    I wish with my hand on my heart these articles were read by just one person that can begin the tide of change… but sadly this is just another demotivated social worker bashed by a system that is broken beyond repair or care…

    Day in day out we keep our fingers crossed hoping that tomorrow morning the children I couldn’t see are safe…

    I am astounded every single day how many senior managers simply refuse to see or believe what is happening around them that their single minded egotistical selfs will never believe this is happening on their watch IT IS OPEN YOUR EYES AND EARS!!!

    Everybody bashes the social worker on the head because we are the easy target even when they have broken our backs our spirt and our souls it will still always be our fault that we didn’t get the one thing they wanted done, done

    Congratulations at finding an escape route and may your next job make you smile again, feel fulfilled and appreciated allow you to sleep well at night and most of all, it keeps you safe

  7. Glyn Berry February 18, 2019 at 8:07 pm #

    This has resonated with me… I was in this dark place after 22 yrs in local authority. I left it at the end of 2017 and went to work for a charity in January 2018, still in a SW role and its the best thing that I could have done. Don’t lose heart, take a bit of time out to get yourself into a more balanced heads pace then look around.

    Someone, somewhere, will value you and your experience.. Good luck and best wishes for your future

  8. Annie February 18, 2019 at 9:52 pm #

    I done the same thing… 15 years and I’ve had enough. It starts to take a toll on your health and for me it’s my number 1 priority. Like you it drained my energy, motivation and I didn’t want to be working in an environment where others were just as deflated as I was… I feel like this is a fresh start for me to explore something new, something different. I wish the very best in all that you do.

  9. Kim February 18, 2019 at 10:26 pm #

    This is a sad enditment of what the profession of social work has become. I too am an experienced social worker with 25 years experience predominantly in children and families work. It is true that the profession has shifted as most things do but it has done so to the demise of a profession that I and many more, have been passionate about and have committed my life’s work it. It’s the system, nepotism and the like that will eventually bring the profession to perils at the expense of the communities it is meant to be servicing and at the end you’ll find burned out social workers, hardly able to scrap themselves off the floor let alone anyone else.

    It’s not only management that needs to sit up and listen. It’s politicians, legislators and the like. As the profession of social work the way I foresee it is eroding and will soon disappear into thin air.

  10. Laura February 18, 2019 at 10:42 pm #

    This also saddens me.. as a student who has just started embarking in social work studies, I’m worried! I wish you well in your new venture and hopefully (she says crossing her fingers) things might be heading in a better direction by the time I’m qualified.

    • frustrated February 19, 2019 at 1:07 pm #

      Laura it has got steadily worst over the last ten years and no one is interested so there is no logical reason why it would get better in the next three years. Sorry not to be more positive.

  11. L.Jackson. February 19, 2019 at 12:08 am #

    I left childrens social work 2 years ago, after 14 years, for all the same reasons and was undervalued by a local authority. So many brilliant social workers left the same authority for the same reason. I too wish that someone with the power to listen and understand and change what is happening, would read these comments and previous comments.

    Look around and see how many jobs are being advertised by agencies on a daily basis – offering from £28 – £40 per hour for social workers. Why? And why are these jobs not being snapped up by experienced social workers?
    Is it because no amount of money can attract previous workers because they know that nothing could compensate for the total demoralizing feelings that you are left with trying to manage children and families lifes whilst feeling as the author of the above articles did.

    Within the main article it is written that the person could not share their true feelings before leaving their place of work for fear of being given bad references. This I experienced – leaving without expressing alot of pent up feelings that should have been aired, though I do know of several people who did express feelings, prior to giving notice and they were seen as outspoken, trouble makers and eventually left due to feeling uncomfortable.

    So it seems, that nothing will change. Even when Ofsted visit and speak to staff – dare anybody speak truthfully for fear of reprisals.

    When I did my degree 14 years ago and completed tutorials on organisations which covered bullying and oppression within work places, I’d never have thought that would happen within children services departments.

    How can we help families, if the powers that be, continue to ignore real problems within some children’s services – if you dare to speak out you are deemed incompetent or stressed out and not coping.

    Happily I do not have these direct worries anymore but it is sad to be continuing to read the reoccurring accounts of a similar nature to the above article.

  12. Anna February 19, 2019 at 2:55 am #

    Congratulation for making the decision to take of you. I also recently left due to similar reasons. Management ignore the issues pointed out to them and have no interest in retaining experienced workers. In fact they lack skills in communication and negotiating.

    • Darcey February 19, 2019 at 11:58 am #

      I made the right decision for me, to leave CP social work for all the above reasons. Managers want machines that work up to 60 hours a week and hit their unachievable targets. God forbid if you break down/burn out, there is no empathy or duty of care.

      It is difficult and sad to leave a career you worked hard to achieve and to also leave the children and families you have supported and built up relationships with. However, we have our own families who need us to be there for them and to be healthy and sane. Social work will always be in crisis; no one is listening.

      • Sarah February 21, 2019 at 7:10 am #

        I’m getting to the same point after only 6 1/2 years! As a mature student who returned to study at 42, I have entered a profession that has worn me out. I became an agency worker after being poorly treated in a permanent role – I’d never go back and work anywhere permanently now. However, the amount of unpaid hours I do is crazy even as an agency worker. Endless paperwork and form filling – designed by people who don’t actually do the frontline job. Everything is always the Social Worker’s fault – guardians in the court process, supervising Social Workers, IRO’s – they all bash us whilst we toil away trying to do meaningful work with the most vulnerable children and families. There is a real crisis going on here – and it started at the top – which is where it needs to change

      • Annie February 21, 2019 at 10:58 pm #

        Very true.

  13. Keziah Abequer February 19, 2019 at 3:26 am #

    Happy are you. I love this profession so much and I did it. Only what is challenging is how to get a job. I’ve been to so many recruitment firms seeking for a job but all in vain. I have passion to work for the children. Kindly connect me to serve, I love my profession.

    • Sheila February 19, 2019 at 10:24 am #

      After 15yrs working for an LA in adults services I too have taken the decision to leave social work for good. I completely relate to everything in this article and for the sake of my physical and mental health feel enough is enough. It’s the hardest decision I have made but I feel so burnt out and demoralised that I feel I now have to put my family and my life first. I have no idea what I will do and feel very frightened of the prospect of looking for alternative employment and feel very sad but I feel it is not and option. I suspect many others feel the same.

      • Annie February 21, 2019 at 11:00 pm #

        It’s like a tug of war with your own morals and values against the system.

  14. frustrated February 19, 2019 at 1:11 pm #

    There is no fairness in Social Work you literally give it your body and soul and then like others here struggle to move on both due to burn out .Second because everybody else in Social Work moves on quickly; within a short time there is no one available to provide a reference so I can work again even though it is not a Social Work job.

  15. Elle February 19, 2019 at 4:01 pm #

    After 12 years and ten years of austerity in ASC I have witnessed a complete turnaround in valued skills. Social workers who save money and are prepared to live with risk quickly find themselves promoted and respected. Managers have no interest in supporting career progression and supervision has become a run through of cases. With hot dealing there is often no one to support you through systems and there has been investment in recording them for many years. Managers are in the most dismissive and disinterested in daily casework issues. Our team has completely lost the Operations Manager post, loading all the extra tasks onto seniors. Staff avoid closing cases as they cannot make space for new work leaving long waiting lists. This has meant duty teams are exhausted with a high turnover of staff. New staff are recruited, but without decent inductions are left muddling through and quickly become overwhelmed, stresssed and then leave. New bad systems replace bad systems repeatedly with staff increasingly confused about ‘pathways. And on the subject of induction, you’re almost seen as a poor professional if you need one. Value is put on certain qualifications that are not needed in ASC, for example AMHP, and yet not valued and protected in MH teams. Staff actively take AMHP training never intending to use it, to succeed in ASC promotion. This devalues and demotivated ASC staff further. I could literally go on and on. I’d love to leave, but they pay us just ahead of the third sector so that career change is inaccessible due to finance. I look at my managers and no longer see social work values in any of them.

  16. Kate February 19, 2019 at 7:05 pm #

    I went agency to preserve my sanity- I work part time and am now enjoying life again- I have 2 years to retirement and would never go permanent. I agree with above comments, I lost my commitment when targets austerity and loss of care for both employees and service users happened!! So sad!!

  17. Anonymous February 19, 2019 at 7:36 pm #

    Dear Socialis, i.I’m so sad and sorry to read your article. I’ve been in front line and now working in Family Courts for too long. Not dissimilar to you I have been thinking about leaving the once loved profession. Just to add to your already sleeplessness comments, i cannot remember the last time i had a full night’s sleep or even relaxed when i finally got to the never starting leave only to dread coming back to endless emails and never ending tasks. Thank you for your service and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours. I’m right behind you too.

  18. Gone Forgood February 19, 2019 at 8:04 pm #

    This story is sadly very typical. After 30 years of protecting children and fighting to keep them with their families, I gave in to the pressures and threats of everyting from being micro managed by megalomanic managers wanting to know my whereabouts evey 30 minutes of every day to threats of being reported to the HCPC and then expected to carry more and more high risk cases left behind by colleagues who just couldn’t face coming in to work any longer. I guided newly qualified and less experienced colleagues and presented report’s to child protection conferences with less than 10 minutes to read and digest the issues. There are some brilliant soical workers as well as excellent health and police staff out there. There are also a growing number of mindless bullies in management including senior management. What is needed is National Social Work Service, maybe along the lines of the police service. Scrap the C part of tne HCPC and let them focus on Health. Take the appointment of social workers away from local government and use specialised appointment boards. In fact remove Social work from local authorities completely. They clearly cant handle it and it’s the children, families and hard working social workers that bear the brunt and the ultimate costs of this dreadfully managed service. No wonder the number of workers planning to leave is on the rise.

    • ian Kemp February 21, 2019 at 7:46 pm #

      Gone you are right A total root and branch reform is needed . It is no use tinkering with the failed system that is local GOv .
      I am retired some time now. But when I started in early 1972 as a graduate in Psychology and also had a degree in biochemistry and neuro biology. It was a great job with fantastic teams and a great spirit. There strong unions which made sure that social workers were protected. Management was small so you could resolve problems quickly. But with advantent of the economic philosophy of Neoliberalism and the Tory Thatcher Gov it all started to fall apart. A succession of Child abuse / deaths did not help matters. Gradually the service was bureaucratised with increasing managerialism to protect local polititions and management.
      After working generically I moved over to mental health when generic approach was abanded .
      For a while taht seemed promising but eventually that to was heavily bureacratisised
      I took early retirment than worked in all areas as a locum Team manager social workerfor another 15 years so ended up working 43 years in social work in all aresfor many differant local authorities.II saw the demoralisation of social work under local Gov which treated social workers Local Gov officers . LG gradually squeezed the life out of social work. with poor support over use of draconian disciplinary over usely very little . Usually some trevial, like missed paper work in a increasing range of paper trials . Manageralism increased to a sufficating level > high salaries were paid so what values some may have had, soon disappeared, as they did not want to rock the boat for fear that they to would disciplined.
      Computors dominated every thing . Budgets became prime focus for any new manager who was climbing the greasy pole of L>A. incrementalism. Social workers were increasely treated with little respect by their employers let alone other professions. Many nyoung social workers left either exhausted or completely demoralised . It was very sad . Socal work had started out in the early 70s with high expectations ws now a controlling marginalised job . What professionalism was left was used by the local authority to beat people into submission.
      What to do. I can freely speculate. But for anything radical to happen socail work should be removed from the grips of LA. Be funded separately from central Gov. All care homes support work should be taken back in house. The purchaser provider nonscense should be removed as soon as possible. The separate Care Department would professionally run by properly tranned social workers who empathetic to social values and can fight for them . That would be a start.
      But I fear no politition in the present set up would either not understand or want to touch it with Barge pole . Let sleeping dogs stay where they are.
      So sadly social work ,will for a while stagger on. It desperately the bright young grads who came into social work in Birmingham all those years ago, where I started to campaign for change
      good luck all I can do is post what I write . Those in social work and maybe the academics who teach social work need to wake up. It will be very difficult for what is a demoralised work force to start > the splintering of teams and increasing use of disciplinary processes who sees thing differently will make things very difficult.
      May be a change in political direction will help. One can hope that individualism and neo liberalism will begin to pass. Cheers to you all .

  19. Anon February 19, 2019 at 11:05 pm #

    I’m a student on a 2nd year 1st placement and I’ve decided up on qualifying I will not be practicing…. I’ve come too far to give up the degree however all I seem to do is sit behind a desk and have minimal contact with service users.

    My cohort feel the same way there is too much red tape and beauracracy it feels like a big brother experience with every move scrutinised and judged.

  20. Barry February 20, 2019 at 12:58 pm #

    Thank you to the writer for providing those of us considering studying social work insight into what the profession is in practice. I had wanted to take up social work as a post-grad, but after reading this article and listening in person to the experience of those in and others who were in the progression but left for similar reasons, I am beginning to have my doubts if it is the right career path.

  21. Gary irwin February 20, 2019 at 5:46 pm #

    Sorry to read this,thank you for your work,entirely agree with all you say.

  22. Sadie February 20, 2019 at 8:46 pm #

    I qualified 13 years ago. I completely feel for the person writing this article and like everyone who left a reply, I would bet that 99% are not our real names, for fear of reprisals.
    I am getting to the stage where if it wasn’t for the team, I don’t think I would go to work day after day. The role is turning me into someone I hardly recognise. Sleepless nights, no time for my family as we bring work home and for what?
    Ofsted the scrurge of Social Care, don’t dare to speak out, you would be out of the door faster than the rubbish. What a joke it is. Performance indicators, timescales, signs of safety, that’s another joke. Rhetoric. I remember that word from uni, thinking oh that sounds good. It was used at the time in politics. It’s the same for signs of safety, we pay lip service to it. Partner agencies would never accept this way of working, allowing the family to give [us] the answer to their problems, rather than [us] doing to them. We are not only setting ourselves up to fail, but families too.
    Agencies workers, I am sorry but we see them leave and the rest of us have their crap to pick up.
    I think good on you for leaving, it takes guts. I am also looking for a way out. It can’t come quick enough

  23. Annoymous February 21, 2019 at 10:42 am #

    I wrote earlier in this thread and would like to comment on the above comments. I find it extremely concerning that no-one dare speak out to either the local authorities or to Ofsted for fear of the consequences or either being seen as a trouble maker , even though truths are being told, for fear of unfair references, for fear of life being made difficult for them, for fear of then being bullied. How can this be? This is supposed to be a caring line of work. I speak for perhaps not all authorities but it is happening nevertheless.

  24. John Stephenson February 21, 2019 at 3:38 pm #

    I worked 25 years for one L/A 12 years as a child protection worker,13 years as Children’s Service Complaints manager.As Complaints Manager I had countless Social Worker’s break down and state their case loads were unmanageable. One Social Worker had a caseload of 66 ,when raising this with their managers ,I often got the response it was due to some failings with the individual social workers,and on occasions threaten to start capability proceedings on very experienced and proficient social workers .

    Many managers these days have no experience of frontline social work and no idea of social work values.I certainly would not advise any one to enter the Social Work Profession.

    • Sonia February 22, 2019 at 10:57 am #

      As a foster carer for 8 years I saw how difficult a job social workers had. I often felt that their managers had absolutely no idea what was actually going on. As a foster carer, I too found it difficult to raise issues when I felt practice wasn’t what it should be, and I too felt the threat of being a trouble maker for raising problems. The management I dealt with were shocking and had no respect for social workers or foster carers. I found them to be bullies and they spoke like a politician, basically lots of waffle and no substance when you tried to pin them down on an issue.
      My own daughter changed her mind about becoming a social worker after seeing bad practice so often. We resigned due to the extreme intimidation and lack of understanding from management. Children’s services is losing all the staff that actually care which is a worrying thought for the future.

  25. maria February 21, 2019 at 8:24 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel! I too have left the SW profession after 12 years! It was such a hostile, depressing, toxic, oppressive & demoralising environment to work in run by inexperienced & incompetent managers with no emotional intelligence & empathy for their hard working & loyal workers whatsoever!

  26. Notmyname Obviously February 22, 2019 at 1:50 am #

    Senior managers who may be reading this will, as ever, continue to ignore these sorts of articles and the equally distressing replies. At some point, universities are going to be advised to stop recommending that social work students read Community Care for fear of the potential negative impact on recruitment! Needless to say, I’m working hard to develop an alternative career to social work after many, many years in the profession. Pity, cos I love the job itself; it’s just the sheer volume of work and the levels of work time associated with scrutiny and monitoring processes which kills the job for me, despite the attraction of what is reasonably regarded as a good salary i.e. in excess of £30k.

    • Ian Kemp February 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm #

      senior managers have vested interests so will not rock the boat . most will just grin and bare it.. no hope there I fear. after good pensions lump sums are on the horizon

  27. Teddyt February 22, 2019 at 8:23 am #

    Perhaps we should stand up for our employment rights like teachers, GP’s, nurses and train drivers do. Disclaimer: in a peaceful way obviously

    • Ian Kemp February 22, 2019 at 8:33 pm #

      local authority has it ways to get you. They will always find ways for those who rock the boat. there is no morality or humanity , there . It is what I call bureaucratic fascism for want of a better word .

  28. jim February 22, 2019 at 12:33 pm #

    the problem is once you have spent over 20 years or more in qualified social work in any care programme it is almost impossible to find another career change in your 40s or 50s which would pay anything near what you would get as a senior social worker. So a lot of social workers are trapped in middle age due to mortgage and family commitments making it not so easy for them to retire early or go into a much lower paid job. Mnay hang on until they can retire on a half decent pension and maybe do some agency work to supplement a meagre pension: however the problem with doing ocasional agency work a few days a month is that one then still has to register with HPC and that means having to commit to lots of additional courses and collecting cpd points, much of it pretty tedious and pointless.

    Believe it or not but in the days back in the 80s and 90s long before registration came in social work was actually a more rewarding job to be in as you did not have to spend extra hours per month looking for evidence based practice or ticking various course off your list for your portfolio to satisfy the register every 2 or 3 years: when you actually could spend more time out ”on your patch” knocking on doors, networking and talking to people and less time in the office staring at a pc screen or working with cass more on paper than in practice. There was more scope to visit and work in pairs as staff were not spending as much time in endless meetings and conferences.

    All this new drive for so called evidence based practice and social workers being afraid of their lives to be more challenging and assertive with families where kids are being neglected or a suspicion of abuse going on has basically driven social work into an ineffective joyless profession strangled by its own red tape and fear of not being politically correct

    • Ian Kemp February 22, 2019 at 8:44 pm #

      could not agree more Jim. I think I saw some of best of social work in the 70s and 80s. before I called it a day as a agency worker I remember going to the placement and staring at row upon row of computers in a large room a bunch of people staring at screens. I thought this has to be the end for me after 44 years in all areas of social work it has come down to this .. I thought this has to be it Bye today I would not go any ware near L/A social work. I would not advise anyone to do it today it is so demoralising as you describe.
      there are many areas that one can pursue that would be more fulfilling. What to do ? As i have argued above it is complex requires vision lateral thinking and the political will. Not likely with this lot. . Good luck. Ian

      • jim February 25, 2019 at 11:20 am #

        absolutely spot on Ian! I’m retiring in less than 2 years at 60 but have already gone down to 75% of hours. I’m lucky to be in a niche in mental health where I have no managers breathing down my neck etc otherwise I would be gone already as I don’t need the money now. Social workers used to be able to challenge their managers and the system but what I see today is few of them being able to give their opinions freely at MDT meetings with service users where [heaven forbid!] they might actually support the service user and carers’ situation and disagree with the approach of their managers or budget holders! I have seen the grinding down of social work both as a professional and a carer

        As a carer I see incompetent arrogant practitioners being put into team leader roles etc because the managers want yes people in the job who will always do their bidding, and as a carer I have never come across a social worker with any real ”guts” who will deviate from the official line of their local authority. I see local authorities and MDT teams, managers closing ranks from top to bottom when challenged about anything including poor resource provision. Where are the tough independent social workers that will stand against their employers or MDT colleagues and actually put the service user first?

        I am sure they must exist but that is just my experience as the carer of a service user in one local authority and also I know what I am talking about as I am in the system at both ends