More social workers needed to deal with hundreds of thousands more assessments, government confirms

Impact assessment sets out volume of assessments, reviews and case management required to implement cap on care costs and other funding reforms

The word 'recruit' spelt out
Photo: patpitchaya/Fotolia

Councils will need to recruit more adults’ social workers to deal with hundreds of thousands more assessments and reviews per year on the back of care funding reforms, the government has confirmed.

The additional assessments and reviews will be required from 2023-24 onwards when the government implements its cap on care costs and a more generous system of means-testing, bringing many more self-funders into local authority care and support.

In an impact assessment of the reforms published this week, the Department of Health and Social Care said it was working with the sector to understand how many additional practitioners would be required and how the impact of the reforms on the workforce could be mitigated.

But it stressed: “Additional social workers and back-office staff will…be required to meet an increased number of assessments.”

This reflects comments made previously by chief social worker for adults Lyn Romeo, while the DHSC has also confirmed that £500m allocated to the social care workforce from 2022-25 will be used, in part, to expand training routes into social work.

Increased demand

However, the impact assessment is the first quantification of the impact of the reforms on the demand for assessments, reviews and the case management of people needing care and support. This arises from:

  • The need to assess and determine eligibility for anyone wanting to benefit from the £86,000 cap on personal care costs, in order to quantify the cost to them of meeting their needs. This would need to be set out in an “independent personal budget”, which would have to be reviewed each year.
  • The increase in the upper capital limit for the social care means-test, making more people eligible for council-funded care.
  • The full implementation of section 18(3) of the Care Act 2014, meaning self-funders can request their local authority meets their needs in a care home, necessitating assessment, planning and review for them.

The reforms will be implemented in 2023-24, with the cap and more generous means-test coming into force in October of 2023. Councils will be able to carry out assessments for self-funders wanting to take advantage of the cap in the six months prior to implementation.

Additional assessments carried out in 2023-24 will be met from £168m that will be allocated to councils to help implement the reforms. Thereafter, the DHSC estimated, additional assessments, reviews and case management will cost between £160m and £180m a year, with the vast majority of the cost concerning people aged over 65.

Hundreds of thousands more assessments

For that group, the impact assessment said that about 140,000 additional self-funders would require a review of their needs each year from 2024-25, with an average of 1.2 reviews carried out per person per year.

At the same time, a similar number of new self-funders would be assessed each year to be considered for the cap. The DHSC said it estimated 80% of eligible self-funders would come forward each year to be assessed, but an additional 16% of this total who were ineligible would also come forward and require an assessment.

Finally, 14-15,000 self-funders aged over 65 who needed “high-intensity domiciliary care” would receive case management support from local authority adults’ services.

Among those aged under 65, roughly 4,000 additional people would need assessment each year, with 17-19,000 needing review.

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8 Responses to More social workers needed to deal with hundreds of thousands more assessments, government confirms

  1. Anonymous January 7, 2022 at 5:54 pm #

    Truth if you work within the system. Self funders are asked to do it themselves. Social workers are now more or less financial managers. Their mangers are the same. Their managers are not worth having there. LAs do not tell the truth re stats for instance waiting list times. LAs are corrupt overall. Complaints process a waste of time as dishonest depts driven by higher management.

  2. peter griffiths January 8, 2022 at 11:32 am #

    Graduated in 2011. Left the SW register 2021 after SW England introduced tougher rules and conditions for SWs for 2022. Only available employment over 10 years was with agency’s and forced to accept wage cuts. Used umbrella agency for payments but some weeks no money transferred to bank account. Local authority never helped. During one contract four experienced SWs left in the same week due to increasing workloads and working up to 6 hours un-paid overtime. Another pay freeze for public sector workers 2022/23. Now working for a law firm on a fixed term contract 30 days holiday, 2.5% pay rise in April and support from managers and work colleagues. Do I wish to return to SW? If yes I must pay Manchester University £1000 for the privilege of joining a 30 day course but with no guarantee of employment at the end. Think I will say good-bye to SW

  3. Brenda January 8, 2022 at 12:04 pm #

    Social Worker’s are leaving the profession in their droves. Had enough of the blame culture.

    • Carol E January 11, 2022 at 4:39 pm #

      Agree, and would add too many good workers referred to SWE who are scapegoats for system failures. Tidy that up and there may be droves that are able to work. Takes soooo long to get through the SWE process that I don’t blame people leaving SW but hate that they leave distressed and dissillutioned.

  4. Colin January 9, 2022 at 4:53 pm #

    Wrong headline. More bureaucrats needed is the appropriate one. You don’t need qualified social worker to use an algorithm to tick the right box to ration provisions and seperate the deserving from the undeserving.

  5. Flint January 10, 2022 at 7:51 am #

    I have been a hospital Social worker for the last twenty years and within this time I have seen a marked deterioration in our work force and the slow progression from Social work to Care management. My job has been dehydrated into a finance officer role with a tick box mentality encouraged by the NHS to get people out as soon as you can with the least care you can offer. So why would you want to return back into this environment, if your retired do you really want to come into a Covid infested environment as a Care manager with little respect for the real Social work role… I hope that one day Social work would be respected such as teachers Doctors and Nurses.. but alas I don’t think we have the professional body to do this . So its back to work I go short staffed, tired , and looking forward to a very long retirement .

  6. Alec Fraher January 10, 2022 at 6:15 pm #

    A return to the Poor Laws has always been on the agenda and taken 40yrs to achieve the only question is are we actually there yet.

    All the NHS and Social Welfare legislation since the 1970’s has been EU driven, especially for older people and people with a disability, it was never about social protection but rather market development.

    For CPD see Gerald Wilstow, London School of Economics and, 8f only now for interest only The Bolkenstein Directive of 1957.

    Yep, this particular problem has been going on along time, some date it back to Edward VI and an Act of Parliament making solemn humiliation a legal obligation in state affairs.

    And, let’s not forget that Northern Ireland has long been used to experiment with unpopular health and social policy development for decades.

    These two silent issues are rather more pointed and sharp today than ever before.

  7. WF January 12, 2022 at 9:36 am #

    I find this ironic given the government’s decision to mandate covid-19 vaccines for all social care staff. This draconian legislation will see even more social workers leave (or be forced from) their roles and it prevents unvaccinated social work students from completing their course and entering the profession. The government are doing everything they can to bring the NHS and social care sectors to their knees and this mandate will only serve their purpose further. Where are the articles about this elephant in the room, where is the statement from our governing body opposing mandatory vaccines for social workers as the Dr and nurses governing bodies have done? In a profession where the fundamental values are to promote choice, autonomy, and discussion, we have yet again been failed by both our employers and our government.