MPs have launched an inquiry that will look into workforce pressures faced by children’s social workers and explore their ability to perform their roles.
The education select committee is inviting submissions from relevant parties including practitioners, employers, academics and people with lived experience of services, in response to mounting concerns relating to pressures on the child protection system, including around staff turnover.
The move comes less than three months after another select committee called on the government to report by the end of the year on social work pressures, and to invest in a national recruitment strategy to encourage people into the profession.
The education committee said the new inquiry was seeking to explore “what is needed from social work, and by social workers in 2019”.
It added that the committee would investigate the capacity and ability of social workers to intervene in a timely manner, uphold their professional responsibilities, access professional development and support and work with partners.
The MPs also said they were interested in the impact of changes to social work training – which has been transformed by new routes into the profession, including the Frontline fast-track programme – on the social work workforce.
Robert Halfon MP, the chair of the education committee, noted that despite social workers performing “vital” work with children and families, many service users continued to experience the worst life outcomes.
“Reports suggest that children are under increasing pressures as they grow up, facing up to a rise in mental health problems, a rise in knife crime and serious violence, and experiencing a range of challenges in areas such as social media use,” Halfon said.
“We want to explore what social work looks like in 2019 and examine the skills and support that social workers need to keep children and young people safe from harm and to help them grow up to thrive as adults.”
This year’s Community Care Live 2019 boasts over 30 free learning sessions to equip you to face the key challenges in social work practice today. You can also sign up to any of our eight legal learning sessions to help ensure you have the legal literacy your role requires. Register now to ensure you don’t miss out.