Children’s social workers: tell us about your caseloads

With social workers reporting higher workloads as a result of Covid and scepticism about the DfE’s recently released caseload statistics, we want to find out how many cases you are holding… and whether this is manageable

Photo: mnirat/Fotolia

The recent Department for Education estimate for average statutory children’s social worker caseloads – 16.3 – was met with scepticism by many practitioners.

The DfE data also pointed to caseloads falling year on year. However, most practitioners surveyed by Community Care on the impact of Covid-19 last November said their workloads had risen as a result.

So, as the country starts to emerge from lockdown, we want to hear from children’s social workers in statutory services in England about what your caseloads are, how manageable they are and their impact on your life, wellbeing and future plans.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes of your time and responses are, by default, anonymous. It will run until Friday 19 March.

Community Care will share the findings as soon as we are able to. We plan to run a similar survey of adults’ practitioners later in the year.

11 Responses to Children’s social workers: tell us about your caseloads

  1. Sue Gracey March 9, 2021 at 9:49 pm #

    It’s not another case load but the complexities, I’ve got a case load of 23 . 8 in proceedings, 2 private law and the rest cp which are complex includes CSE , except 1 lac case . And it’s heavy going .

    • mercy March 12, 2021 at 6:23 pm #

      Hello Sue, I would like to know where you are working, as your employer should be ashamed of themselves, for not only putting you at ‘professional risk’, but also not doing the right thing by your children, and not giving them the service they require. How the hell can one worker be expected to manage all that, even a machine would have trouble!

      All of the responsibility is ‘on you’, and none on your employer, with 8 in proceedings and 2 in private law, not to mention your other CP cases!!!

      Where do you get the time to just do your paperwork, let alone any of the visits or direct work? You could easily just spend your day reading emails, and answering telephone calls.
      Even if you worked every evening until 10pm, and you worked every weekend, you would not be able to deal with that.

      I would have left, as that is an unmanageable load, and at the end of the day, if something goes wrong, you are the one who will suffer (and the children), not your employer.

      The worst case of professional abuse I heard of was a Social Worker had 50 cases – yes 50 cases (families, not children), and she use to work ‘all through the night’ on a Friday, to try and deal with it. The workplace? Westminster in London, who are supposed to be a 4-star borough, but should be ashamed a Senior Practitioner had to deal with that.

  2. Laura Banks March 10, 2021 at 9:59 pm #

    Yes i agree, its the complexities and feeling supported, not necessarily the number of cases. I have 6 care proceedings and i think anything more than 3 is a stretch, especially if you have CP cases.

  3. Hellen Namuwonge March 11, 2021 at 12:48 pm #

    I am on ASYE 5MONTHS and have 19cases although I have always held 12 or less before.

  4. Denise W. March 13, 2021 at 1:30 am #

    What is going to be done with information gathered. For as long as I can remember, social workers have been asked to complete surveys. Then what? Nothing seems to change, no feedback on where the information is going and what it is used for, just another request to complete yet another survey some time later.

    • Helena.P March 21, 2021 at 7:05 am #

      I totally agree. Year after year we are asked to complete surveys and give our opinions but to no avail.

      What’s the point of BASW? I look in envy at other professional unions who are a voice for their workers and challenge the government.

      Unfortunately social work is a thankless job and underpaid. Sadly I feel trapped

  5. Abdul March 13, 2021 at 12:35 pm #

    I was contemplating a job in Children’s Social Work, and was considering a fast-track course (i.e. Stepping Up), as I have a previous degree, and was interested in direct work and helping people.
    Fortunately, I did my research and talked to a lot of social workers who are already in the job, and the advice I was given was to ‘stay out of it’, as there is not enough time, hours, or support given to be able to do the job effectively. As I have a family, I am not prepared to sacrifice the needs of my wife and children, in order to meet other families and the organisational needs. I am not able to spend long hours after work in a job – which I will not be compensated for – to do a job whereby the organisation does not wish to hire the amount of people required to meet the needs. Caseloads of 20 – 30, including multiple cases in court? The UK is really failing the vulnerable children who need safety and support.

  6. Unicorn March 13, 2021 at 2:59 pm #

    I am a Statutory Children’s Social Worker, and I have 10 cases in care proceedings and 40 cases, 25 CP. I handed in my notice, as this is no acceptable work conditions, nor right by the families.

  7. Titch Bia March 15, 2021 at 9:35 pm #

    I left the career I love and I think was fairly good at, over case loads. The pressure made me I’ll, and being ill increased the pressure. I now work with traumatised kids who are often violent. The company takes the “top 2% of the top 2%” of complex kids…, and I’ve never loved my daily job so much. Now I feel like I make perceivable and visceral, measurable changes and differences in people’s lives.
    I know ‘my’ kids will remember me, if not for long, for the right reasons.
    In the past I can count few families that would want to remember me because of how traumatic the situation was.

  8. Andy March 17, 2021 at 10:34 pm #

    I left the job (CP) in early ’19 because I knew I was heading towards some sort of mental and/or physical health crisis. It was a tough decision as I’m an older worker close to retirement but my health had to come first. I have observed others in similar positions having to take multiple weeks of sick leave and I could not see the wisdom in such a detrimental work-life imbalance. It’s been a little difficult to earn enough to keep things going financially but I’ve learned very quickly to live relatively frugally. I’m now able to have a sensible (i.e. healthy) work routine without the unending stress of an arguably unmanageable complex caseload in the mid twenties. I still greatly admire colleagues particularly those in their late fifties who still persevere in such unrelenting working conditions.

  9. Adjoa March 18, 2021 at 3:36 pm #

    I have complex cases i have 25 caseloads some are going to GP, LPM and CIN some are also ,mental health issues.