A third of social workers struggle to park for work every day, survey finds

A recent survey answered by over 2,200 social found 43% of social workers said their employers did not make parking available for social work staff

Photo: Zephyr_p/Fotolia

A third of social workers who use a car for work have a problem with finding available parking every day.

In a survey conducted by Community Care last month, responded to by over 2,200 social workers who used a car to carry out their job, 33% of respondents had a problem finding a space to park their car either on their way to work or during their work (ie during visits).

Six in ten social workers told us they had parking problems more than once a week, and almost three-quarters (74%) a minimum of once a week.

This comes as 43% of respondents revealed their employer did not make parking available for social work staff at the workplace, despite 98% of respondents saying parking availability was either “very important” or “important” in their day-to-day working lives.

As well as a significant minority not having parking available at the office, 42% said they were not supported to park for free when visiting service users.


For those who are, almost three-quarters pay for the parking upfront and are able to claim it back on expenses, while 19% are given parking permit.

Even for employers who did provide parking on site, spaces for social work staff were often limited, according to our survey respondents. One told us: “We have parking available, however there are 100 odd spaces for over 300 cars, meaning you have to arrive one hour earlier to guarantee parking.”

Another added: “We can claim [expenses] for trips on visits but not for the car park by the office. Permits are available but there is a waiting list and a £500 yearly fee. Otherwise we have to move cars every two hours or park a 10 minute walk away.”

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8 Responses to A third of social workers struggle to park for work every day, survey finds

  1. No name March 7, 2019 at 4:20 pm #

    What a load of rubbish. I worked as a district nurse for over 5 years and I never had this problem.

    • Gary March 8, 2019 at 3:51 pm #

      Hi ,

      If you work at a clinic you may well have staff parking , we have spaces in some offices that are taken up by people who do not need a car as part of their work. We never used to have to pay to park at work .Given the current situation I can see us having to pay even more in the future .

    • rguru March 11, 2019 at 12:07 pm #

      You worked as a district nurse not as a social worker, the article is about social workers?

  2. Billy March 7, 2019 at 6:59 pm #

    A good social work employer recognises that car parking is a central necessity; not a luxury. Hence social workers employed in direct practice should have access to car parking.

  3. Paul March 7, 2019 at 8:26 pm #

    In my opinion local authorities are increasingly becoming toxic places for social work as a profession. They rely on so much goodwill from social workers and have increasingly moved from a situation in the mid 80s following the Barclay report where sociam workers were treated as middle managers in terms of support available to them.

    I stopped working for a local authority 3 years ago – where I had worked for more than 25 years. I now work in the voluntary sector and would never return to a local authority environment. I mkss the culture of local authorities in the past where it was the norm to receive a parking permit or have accessible parking spaces where you were based.

    The sooner sociam work moves out of local authority control the better in my opinion.

  4. Gary March 8, 2019 at 3:11 pm #

    I pay £50 per month for a permit to park near work , some workers don’t pay anything depending in which office they work.
    I need a car as I am in and out of the office on a regular basis throughout the day .

  5. Cycling Socia Worker March 15, 2019 at 3:23 pm #

    I live approx. 8 miles from the office. I use my push bike to cycle to the office and back. Community Care, it would be good for you to do an article on Social Workers who cycle. Cycling is a great way to improve fitness and wellbeing. The journey usually takes me 45 minutes. I’m far from the fittest person. I undertake my visits, on bike, foot or using the car. I have used the car approx. 4 times since the summer to commute to the office. I no longer have to worry about finding parking. Why not consider cycling to work? You will feel great 🙂

  6. Billy March 16, 2019 at 6:31 am #

    Now we are certainly onto something here with the cycling social worker.