‘I feel out of my depth’: NQSWs report ‘unmanageable’ caseloads and lack of support

ASYE respondents to Community Care survey report breached caseload caps, working over contracted hours and poor mental health on back of high workloads for themselves and colleagues

Image of young woman home working and looking tired and stressed (credit: StratfordProductions / Adobe Stock)
(credit: StratfordProductions / Adobe Stock)

Newly qualified children’s social workers are struggling to manage their workloads leaving some questioning their future in the profession, Community Care’s annual caseloads survey has found.

Almost a quarter of the 62 respondents doing their assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) said their caseloads were “completely unmanageable” and a further almost half said theirs were “hard to manage”.

The survey found full-time ASYE practitioners had average caseloads of 20.6 on average, higher than last year’s figure (19.6) and well above the caps set in many authorities, which some respondents said had been breached in their case.

Employers are supposed to protect 10% of NQSWs’ time for learning and development. However, ASYE social workers described being overwhelmed by their caseloads, with some having to work outside their regular hours to keep up, and missing out on learning from colleagues, who were too stretched themselves to offer support.

‘I feel out of my depth’

An ASYE practitioner in the West Midlands said they had 28 cases and worked around 55 hours a week.

“I feel out of my depth and constantly under pressure by targets eg unrealistic deadlines. I do not feel supported and supervision does not live up to the role…I am not emotionally available for my own children at times. I know I won’t be doing this job forever,” they said.

An ASYE practitioner in the North West holding 20 cases said they were actively looking for another role because of their experience on the programme.

“I was assured I would not have court proceedings involvement in my first year and now I have three families who are [in proceedings] and there [are] not experienced staffing levels to supervise me closely enough or transfer these families,” they said.

“I’ve been off work with stress and looking at authorities which work differently to the one I currently belong to. It has impacted my confidence as I thought we were a profession where we learn from experienced colleagues but everyone it appears is too overworked to properly teach you things you don’t have experience of yet. It’s dangerous for practice and I have had to make difficult decisions about my career just a few months in.”

‘Everyone is stretched’

They were one of several to report a lack of support from overworked colleagues, reflecting the wider findings of Community Care’s survey, which found caseloads were growing in size, complexity and unmanageability across the board.

An ASYE social worker from Yorkshire said they knew the children and young people they worked with well, their caseload usually felt manageable and that they had a “very supportive” manager.

“However, if there is crisis or my caseload rises, things quickly become unmanageable and that’s largely down to the fact there is little team support available as everyone in my team is stretched – experienced social workers are holding 29 cases so there is no room for them to help and support lesser experienced workers like myself,” they said.

Lack of supervision

Under the standards for employers of social workers in England, NQSWs are supposed to have supervision at least weekly for their first six weeks, then fortnightly up to six months and then monthly for the rest of their first year.

However, a social worker in the North East, with a caseload of 28 six months into their ASYE, said: “I have only had supervision twice while I have been working there. And only once was all of my cases – that was 5.5 weeks in to my ASYE where I was already on 20+ cases.  Managers try to be really helpful where they can but they are stretched and understaffed themselves.”

The social worker, who said they were working a minimum of 10 extra hours a week, said their situation was affecting their practice.

“I am so behind with all families and I feel that I am dropping balls constantly and letting families down constantly,” they said. “Other professionals speak to me poorly and treat me as though I don’t care or I am not trying – which is completely demoralising.”

They were among those contemplating quitting.

“I enjoy elements of the job but I don’t see myself staying after my ASYE finished. I have promised myself I will try another area of social work before looking for a new career altogether.”

Practitioners also reported handling work that they did not feel equipped to manage.

One ASYE social worker in Yorkshire and Humberside with 36 cases said their working situation was “just madness”, adding: “People leave and we have to absorb their cases. I’m assigned cases which I have never experienced before and expected to know what I am doing, and in addition I have to complete the components of the ASYE. When I refuse additional cases, I have been told there’s nowhere else for them to go. It’s making me miserable. It’s causing conflict in my life outside work because I am so pressured by my workload.”

Longstanding issues exacerbated by pandemic

Workload pressures on those taking the ASYE are longstanding, being raised as an issue in Skills for Care’s annual reports on the scheme for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

In 2019-20, the workforce development body, contracted by the Department for Education to support employers in delivering the ASYE, said that workload management was a “clear challenge”.

And though supervision was seen by NQSWs as the most crucial element of the programme, the report said that it was “often the first casualty in times of high pressure within teams”. This meant that “the very thing that is most needed may not be available”.

The 2020-21 report found pre-existing pressures had been exacerbated by the pandemic.

It said that “several” organisations were failing to meet NQSWs’ needs, especially where their employment started during a lockdown.

NQSWs reported that, in some cases, a failure to prioritise the ASYE had led to them facing increased and more complex caseloads – beyond recommended levels – less supervision, fewer learning opportunities and less priority being given to ASYE reviews.

It found some graduates faced isolation, while others lost confidence in their abilities to perform the role and worried about being a burden on their colleagues, as they lost out on opportunities to assimilate knowledge informally in the office environment.

‘Next generation must be supported’

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said our survey results were “extremely concerning”.

“The next generation of social workers must be supported to undertake ASYE with a protected caseload, good support systems in place, reflective supervision and have opportunities for additional CPD opportunities,” said Maris Stratulis, BASW England national director.

Stratulis said increasing caseloads for newly qualified and more experienced social workers came “against a backdrop of long-term underfunding of social services”.

She said BASW would continue to campaign for social workers to have adequate resources and the right professional working conditions to do their jobs.

“We must create time and support for the next generation of social workers,” she said.

‘Social workers must raise concerns’

Dame Lorna Boreland-Kelly, chief executive of training organisation Bokell Associates, said it was “incredibly worrying” that some newly qualified social workers were not receiving adequate support.

She said local authorities should be able to offer adequate support to ASYE social workers even if other practitioners’ caseloads were high.

And she said it was important for practitioners to investigate the quality of a local authority’s ASYE scheme before starting their first year in employment, particularly the support they offered to NQSWs.

“When you apply for jobs, it is important for you to go to an authority where you are going to be supported, where you will have good, reflective supervision, where you will have a protected caseload and where you will have a group of newly qualified social workers, so you are not just stuck in a team on your own.”

Dame Lorna said social workers needed to “show leadership” and “be brave” by talking to managers or ASYE co-ordinators if they had concerns about cases they has been assigned and then escalating their concerns further if they dis not receive a satisfactory response.

She said it was important that social workers were trained, before qualifying, to advocate for themselves “so that when they come into the world of work they have the skills that they will require”.

Ongoing support role

Skills for Care has confirmed that it will continue to deliver the Department for Education (DfE)’s contract to support the ASYE scheme for children’s social workers, after the DfE retendered last year, with the aim of ensuring a “more consistent” delivery of the programme.

It has been delivering the programme since 2018 and its latest contract is due to run from this month until 2024.

33 Responses to ‘I feel out of my depth’: NQSWs report ‘unmanageable’ caseloads and lack of support

  1. Just another ASYE April 5, 2022 at 8:32 am #

    I work in the North East. If Maris Stratulis and Dame Lorna Borland-Kelly ever want to climb down from their “could” and “should” cloud of magical realism I would be happy to sit in my car and let them understand why at 8.29 am, I have been sitting in my car trying to update my “notes” and crying since 6.45 am.

    • Fellow ASYE April 5, 2022 at 2:35 pm #

      I am so sorry to hear that after all the hardwork you do as a social worker its hard to hear that. I am also an ASYE Social Worker definitely out of my depth lot of the time. I wish you well.

    • Gina G April 7, 2022 at 7:11 am #

      Leave, you are worth so much more than this. Life is too short and precious x

    • Abdul April 9, 2022 at 1:09 am #

      The bad news is the system has been this way for years, and it’s not going to change, in fact it has gotten worse, and it is on the point of collapse. The system keeps ‘ticking over’ due to the majority of social workers doing ridiculous amounts of unpaid overtime. No other work place or organisation could get away with that behaviour, but more importantly, what other worker’s in other profession’s would willingly work 15-25 additional hours per week for free for their employer? Almost zero, except social work, but they get away with it, because we all do it. Managers don’t have time to lobby Senior Management for more SW’s to do the job, but the problem is they either cannot find enough SW’s to fill all the vacancies, and (or) Central Government does not give the funding needed to adequate staff and run a good service. The good news is only you can do something about it, if you want too. Is the job really work your health, sanity, well-being, and time? Should a job be that hard where you are crying in your car before work, and this will drain your reserves and capacity to do the job effectively. I have been a front line social worker for almost 25 year, and I have finally realised the job is not worth the time, energy, stress, and toll it has taken on myself emotionally, mentally, and personally over the years. My whole life is work, I work most evenings and weekends, and I rarely socialise, & my friendships are dwindling. Life it too short to spend it at work, and you get out of life what you put in, and at the end of the day nobody cares you spent your life at work, the only person who will suffer is you. I am leaving the profession this year, and I am looking forward to it.

      • Liz April 11, 2022 at 9:48 am #

        Totally agree.
        No ASYE when I started in a CP team as a freshly qualified SW but I was promised a capped caseload and support and supervision etc. It quickly materialised the job was impossible to manage without working a 10 hour day and neglecting my own children at times. I lasted in that time for a mere 18 months and felt it was a highly damaging experience to me both professionally and emotionally. Nothing ever changes
        Local authorities need to have systems in place whereby they employ supervisors as a separate role from managers. Supervision is different from case management as NQSW’s need reflection time to grow and develop their systemic and analytical skills.
        As mentioned above no other profession is expected to give so much of themselves for so little reward and be the object of the nations hatred whilst caring so much for what they do. Why can’t this government invest properly in social care resources across the board to enable social workers to have the tools to at least have a chance to do their jobs without their hands tied behind their backs?

        • Alec Fraher April 14, 2022 at 1:14 pm #

          You got it Liz. Systemic mayhem and little scope for reflective practice let alone reflexivity; I see that commentary about the Psy-Complex is fashionable again and while the structural problems are not to be ignored the relationship between the actual work and how it’s being organised requires close attention. Nefarious influences have become an intractable aspect of both organisational form and its delivery. Historic Collective Memory , which is distinctively Post Brexit, has been an itch aching to be scratched and is manifest in how CP is being broadcast in and the media. Tougher times are coming.

      • Alec Fraher April 17, 2022 at 3:25 pm #

        Abdul, you are on point, if you forgive my patronage, when you say that the system is on the point of collapse. But this is only part of the story and your story should you write about it.

        Councils, all of them, are steeped in working with Complex Adaptive Systems; knowing all too well about requisite variety and variety attenuation; and as you rightly say systemic collapse.

        Yet, and here’s the run, social work education falls short in coaching sw’s in the knowhow of the differences, conceptual and real, between Viable Systems Modelling and Value Stream Management: confusion is inevitable; burnout and cynicism too.

        Pitch for a Masters/PhD instead of leaving, I hear York University are merging SW with their School of Management or check out the OU.

        If, and i genuinely meán If, you are interested have a read of The Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva; she demonstrates that reality is far from linear and how the abject is always present should we notice. Other work by Roy Baskhar on Critical Realism is useful too. And for sure, and this is the choke point, these texts are white euro centric but do offer a point of integration to and with other perspectives than Christendom, which in my experience in the 90s were already holistic by design.

        It is a travesty that you are leaving the profession; I at least became persona non grata 😅

  2. julia April 5, 2022 at 8:09 pm #

    I feel for the families who are in court with an ASYE writing the paperwork and seeking to recommend decisions to the court. Being involved with one set of proceedings as an experienced worker is stressful enough, I cannot imagine what it must be like for the poor ASYE who has 3 current cases. This would feel very unsafe to me. I am sorry that this is your first taste of social work. There are better LAs out there, but we are all struggling under the weight of the never ending and often unnecessary admin.

  3. Frustrated NQSW April 5, 2022 at 11:08 pm #

    I am so sorry that you both had experience this in your own team. I do feel for you as I am in the same situation. I feel that all the efforts that we have put into just help out is not really been acknowledged. I had a happy moment today of an achievement after such a long winded situation and was so over the moon because it’s been paid off but then turns into gray after being questioned by my colleagues. I just think would be nice if for that day they could’ve have been encouraging after all the hard work that I have to go through to get an outcome.

    I sometimes think that some but not all who have been in the profession for awhile lose sight of motivating NQSW who is just joining the profession to keep them encourage to continue with the profession rather it feels like they are one of the cause why NQSW decided to leave the profession prematurely. Of course, the constant battle with the bureaucratic system!!

    Also, I do not know about other people but I feel like ASYE year which should be focus on our development is not there and sometimes we’re left to figure it out on our own.

    Good luck to all NQSW and wherever you are and whatever you are feeling when you read this post it is all valid. You are valued member of this profession. You are doing an amazing job and just to say thank you for all you do to support all the people you are working with, thank you for putting up with those nasty swearing words that come out of the family’s mouth when they are angry with the services and the whole system! Thank you for continuing this journey and for never giving up even when there are times that you feel you want to get out of that door and never ever come back. Thank for going to work so early to do the notes from your yesterday’s meetings and those sleepless nights because it is hard to shut down. Thank you very much fellow NQSW, I do hope that one day things will get better for us but let us be a beacon of hope to those coming up and joining the club of NQSW in few months or years time. Let us be that hope, motivating, encouraging and supportive colleague that we never had when we join this club.

    Sending all my love to you all.

    • Gina G April 7, 2022 at 7:16 am #

      It should be just about thank yous, no one, newly qualified or not, should be doing so much (unpaid) work. Don’t put up with being treated this way.. you deserve better. Don’t be a Martyr.

  4. ASYE Midlands April 5, 2022 at 11:22 pm #

    Although I wish this on no-one, it was also a huge relief to come across this article and know that other ASYEs are in the same position. I have felt so incredibly alone, overwhelmed, exhausted, unsupported and an emotional wreck for months.

    • Afi April 7, 2022 at 12:44 pm #

      I agree with you.
      This has been the most challenging, so challenging and feeling let down, i have had to leave without completing my ASYE.

      I wish all NQSW the best.

  5. Charli April 6, 2022 at 9:02 am #

    In a culture where even our own ‘supervisors’ regard us as an extra burden, there is little other than peer support to allow us to grow into safe practice. Our internal and external bossess are locked in a self reverential ghost dance where apparently support is endless, rights based social work a reality and though never really defined, ‘diversity’ valued. Just another ASYE sums up the reality. Like Fellow ASYE I offer my best wishes because from my a powerless bottom of the pile position that’s all I can do. And those who think our experiences would be improved if BASW was in ‘charge’ of us, just explain who BASW is please. Maybe start with how many of the great and the good who make up BASW are actual dirty fingered getting up at 6.00am after yet another anxious sleep deprived partner neglecting emotionally crushed practicing social workers. The problem isn’t which organisation delivers the ASYE programme. The problem is the detached from the grind ‘experts’ who don’t and perhaps living the bubble of their ‘expertise’, can’t understand the problems we as NQSW’s and our better experienced colleagues live with. And that includes the ever optimistic forever off kilter MBE danglers who, though they have a fancy job title, peddle a delusion that they are “just a social worker too you know.” The hierarchy of worth is the problem that none if them ever acknowledge and worse do their utmost to distract us from. But than what would I know, I am about to “fail” my assessment.

  6. Tee April 6, 2022 at 9:03 am #

    What’s needed is a new generation of leaders who are committed to changes in the social world field. Preferably those who have worked on the ground and have had firsthand experience. Until that happens, we will keep hearing the same story about high caseloads and a lack of support for frontline staff.

    • Julia April 8, 2022 at 4:22 pm #

      Perhaps anyone who is tasked with leading, should as a matter of course have a case load of their own and have to engage with the people we are supporting as well as complete the paperwork the themselves tell us is needed. I would have far more respect for a head of service who ended a phone call with me because they had to go on a visit. Then again, who am I kidding, no head of service telephones a run of the mill front line worker do they?

  7. Terry April 6, 2022 at 10:23 am #

    As a social worker who trained in the eighties my experience of my first two years was completely different and very positive. The most alarming development is if a NQSW attempts to make a stand about high case loads or routinely completing work outside of work hours.Instead of a serious discussion it is routinely framed as concerns about practise and performance.

    • Rudy April 8, 2022 at 10:25 am #

      I agree. As a SW of 27 years my cynical and experienced view is that if you flag these issues up nothing will come of it other than you being identified as a ‘person of interest’. Social Work relies on the cognitive dissonance of safe and good quality practice with objectively far too many cases for that to be remotely possible. It is the job of managers to limit the discussion of this because it can’t be resolved with current funding and their job is to give the impression of a safe effective service. It’s not going to get any better.

  8. We matter too April 6, 2022 at 10:40 am #

    Perhaps if managers and colleagues stopped referring to me, perhaps us?, as “she’s our newbie”. When do I join the “profession”? I am older, have more care work experience, am better ‘paper qualified’ than my manager. I understand the rungs of the ladder loved by many in social work but what does it take to “prove” I belong in social work? Why does everyday feel like I have to be mindful of traps set to show how little I know, how much more I have to do to become a proper social worker? Being told to “toughen up” and become “resilient” feels like power games with the “newbie” as the brunt when she is not even included in the game.There are joys in social work but they are few. And never found in the jaded cynicism of the “when you’ve done as many years as me” point scorers.

  9. Tahin April 6, 2022 at 3:41 pm #

    Believing BASW is best equipped to deliver the ASYE programme is like giving the car keys to someone who has never sat in the drivers seat let alone passed the driving test and expecting them not to crash. Or as my colleague once said, BASW is like the comedian who doesn’t understand the joke and always fails to deliver the punchline. All I want to say is that I value the committment, enthusiasm, creativity, knowledge, ideas and the challenges to established ways of working that NQSW’s bring to my practice. ‘Experienced’ I might be but I also have the humility to know my practice is sometimes on auto-pilot and going through the same work patterns. It’s good that the supposed ‘naivete’ of an NQSW jolts me into thinking mode. I know none if this is enough to alleviate the distress expressed here but not all of us are promotion chasing career obsessives and were you in my team I would value you and yes, look up to you too. Please search for your own way into your role and stay practicing if you can. Social work needs you more than it needs SWE, BASW and any other self elected leader. You are much much more valuable to our profession.

    • Alec Fraher April 15, 2022 at 5:10 am #

      The reliance on competitive process in social work generally and training in particularly is a fatal error; personality based beauty contests that end on bun fights, and with little by way of the actually required statutory reporting and audit.

      The continued professional arrogance supporting this, by both the DofE and would be providers, adding insult to an already injurious process.

      Public Procure Procedure is not designed for the job being asked of it.

      Stop pretending it works. It is, OK to do so.

      There are shelves of HofC Select Committee Reports saying that it has already failed.

      Try getting your hands on the Reg 84 Reports if you don’t believe me.

  10. Alec Fraher April 6, 2022 at 6:45 pm #

    It’s worth looking up the BASW NE, Coventry and Warwick Joint Statement recently released to get a picture of the real enviromental forces impacting social Work. Written by Christian Kerr it’s a good read and coverage of the complex dynamics shaping the industry; solid CPD.

    Sadly, the profession colluded with the invitations made to KPMG and the Boston Consulting Group as well as, Serco and G4 by the then sector leaders: it was the then Government policy to encourage such insider trading. Has anything actually changed?

    For, an examination of the detailed dynamics see Alec Fraher V The Information Commissioner:;here the IC present a 400 page legal statement about what ‘holding information’ actually means. It defies about everything one would consider possible as the abstraction of legal definition denies the reality.

    Crucially, offering get outs for both the independent provider and public authority from a challenge of malfeasance; protecting against the detection and removal of drugs dealing and child and vulnerable adult exploitation..

    How NQSW are sensitised to the murkier aspects of social Work is as important as any other. Without it the profession will not redeem itself.

    • Alec Fraher April 12, 2022 at 8:54 am #

      it would appear that BASW NE have rattled the cage of the England Committee.

      Good on you.

      The very issues raised by the Joint Statement apply in equal measure to BASW Officers too.

      A full statement of all interests must be made as there are likely to be conflicts and members need to know who and what they’re voting for.

      Especially when there are nefarious institutional and political tie-ins as has been the case previously.

      Careerism, nepotism, manipulation, embarrassment and cajole.

      Who’d have thought BASW could face such problems let alone advocate the use
      of such behaviour. But then the relationship with the LGA has long been muted too. BASW NE should be commended for addressing the democratic deficit ushered in by and condoned by BASW Officers and Board Members.

      For CPD Google system collapse in viable systems modelling and examine the notion of extreme comensurability as a justification for the casualisation of values and ethics, covered decades ago by Rudolph Klein and more recently by Bojan Radej, 1984 and 2021 respectively.

      *DISCLAIMER I RAISED VERY SERIOUS ISSUES THROUGH THE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION ONLY TO FIND OUT AFTERWARDS THAT THE OFFICERS HAD ONGOING AND VESTED INTERESTS IN THE MATTERS BEING BURIED.*

  11. Proud Social Worker April 7, 2022 at 11:02 am #

    We matter too is right in all their comment. If social work is about recognising the strengths and the obvious and the hidden qualities of people, than language matters. “Newbie” is a condescending power play statement telling us to know our place in the pecking order and offensive too. If I have qualified and am registered to use the protected title of social worker, why am I not one in your eyes? We had an event in our LA for NQSW’s and the first words we heard from our head of service was ” welcome to………….all you newbies”. Just think how undermining of our professional worth that term is. As is “you’ll learn” and “when you earn your stripes”. All said to me in my first week.

    • Alec Fraher April 7, 2022 at 5:11 pm #

      humiliation;putting up with it and just getting on is a hallmark of the protestant work ethic. I wonder how many other fraternal expectations exist, the study in NI is may be tip of an iceberg.

  12. Simon Cardy April 7, 2022 at 11:47 am #

    Has Dame Lorna not heard of the Health & Safety at Work Act or the duty of care? That’s right, pile all the responsibility to act onto to the ASYE and give employers a free pass. As any social worker of social care professional would argue, an approach which blames the victim is the wrong place to start. This is hard enough for experienced social workers to challenge even with effective trade union support but to talk about NQSWs needing to take responsibility to show ‘leadership’ and being ‘brave’ shows a level of disconnection from what it might actually be like for a NQSW in these positions. To raise a concern or to complain to your line managers when they have the power to deny their ASYE at the end of 12 months and wreck your social work career takes some bottle. To do so involves effectively challenging a powerful set of line managers who know very well what have done and/or invoking the early stages of a grievance. I would urge social workers to seek trade union advice at the earliest opportunity – again not always easy but something Dame Lorna also seems to have ignored. Trade union presence and activity leads to safer work places – that’s a fact not an opinion.

    These are not reasonable employers we are dealing with. They are therefore unlikely to respond reasonably. It needs a different strategy than to rely on PCF9 and if they were reasonable – as many are – they would have never have put NQSWs in this position. I think we all feel for anyone having 36 case (I once had 44 CIN/CP). It needs calling out, it needs collective action, it needs a proper qualitative and ethnographic research study. It needs social workers to act collectively – a concept that Dame Borland also avoids, it needs reporting to and elected members in those authorities, it needs and individuals groups of concerned managers in those authorities to show a bit of leadership themselves to escalate at a political level and exercise their duty of care under the Health & Safety legislation.

  13. Anony April 8, 2022 at 8:33 am #

    We have all been NQ social workers – so will all remember it very clearly. Very often the move from final year PLO placement into a 1st year in practice is a big one for lots of reason. Often it’s the unrealistic final year placement when students are given small caseloads to help manage uni assignment, and continuous support throughout the 100 days. Most of us give NQs space because we remember the stressful 3rd year placement all too well.
    It’s also the team culture they go into. Some join well established teams where the ‘forming–storming–norming–performing’ is settled and can benefit from the calm environment. However, often NQs will join teams that are not settled, and have high turnover for various reasons – there will often be pressure on all the team learning the role and gaining their own experience – there will unfortunately often be reluctance by some more ambitious social workers to share knowledge (it’s uncomfortable to hear but it’s true), and little time for the nicer social workers to support NQs.
    There is also the unrealistic expectations of NQs. There are times we need to do those extra hours. Social work is a demanding job – to support people untangle typically complicated lives is never going to be an easy 9-5 job; if it was then the people we support would not need us.

  14. Alison April 8, 2022 at 2:23 pm #

    Not sure about the argument for the ‘necessity’ to work extra hours myself. How often have you “untagled complicated lives” by working overtime? Some would suggest that a mind fogged by slogging is actually not that alert and potentially a trap for missing the essential. For me wanting rest time to think and reflect is essential for good practice rather than an unrealistic expectation. I once worked for a boss who always arrived at 7.00am and never left until thrown out by night security. They got so fed up chasing him out that he was given the alarm code to close up the building. And he rarely had 3 days holiday. Worst supervisor I ever had. He too thought that being in the office and barely going home was essential for making the lives of service users better. We universally hated supervision with him because his advice always was to work longer hours “because that’s the job” rather than listen. Ofcourse I work beyond the the core 9-5 at times but only when I think it’s necessary and never to prove a point to my boss or anyone else that fetishises late working. I know that’s not really your point Anony but long days tend to become a cover for inadequate management and poor resources so we should resist it. I say to NQSW’s moreover us appreciateyou and see how some patronise you than those who get a kick out of exploiting your enthusiasm and skills.

    • Alec Fraher April 24, 2022 at 5:23 am #

      great point Alison; how many lives are untangled by working extra hours.

      but equally true is the opposite.

      why are services organised around 9-5 and who’s needs are being met?

      how much inventory is regulatory and what’s its purpose

      how is the information re-used and with who’s permission

      what do social workers actually do that can’t be delegated

      what and who really matters and why

      what are the system archetypes

      for cpd see Creative Holisms by Micheal C Jackson

  15. Michelle Parrot April 8, 2022 at 5:49 pm #

    I believe that the AYSE portfolio needs to be streamlined and the same across the board. All that is needed is 3 pieces of evidence for each the KSS’s, list of training and service user and professional feedback and critical reflection. ANYTHING MORE IS UNNECESSARY. For AYSE’s that show promise the LA’s should be able to sign them off anytime after 6 months instead of them having to complete the full year. The pay for AYSE is not ethical and could be considered abusive and discriminatory. Why not pay them 10% less than the team rate if the workload is just 10% less. AYSE’s are paid on average £6,000 less than their colleague. Skills for Care should able be responsible and accountable to the AYSE’s in training and handle these complaints about high caseloads and lack of Supervison. Whilst holding the LA’s to account and penalising them. But no one cares about AYSE’s they are just glorified students with no power who have to put up and shut up because of this programme. Only first line social workers need an AYSE and they should be paid the same rate as a social worker. Skills for Care are just a register for paperwork and certificates but are useless and not productive. Not forgetting that AYSE’s with their low pay, dont get a discount at SWE or BASW during this year and they have to same CPD requirements for SWE. All these bodies are the same, no one cares but they will when the social worker students dont stay in the profession.

    • Tracy wickett April 20, 2022 at 8:26 pm #

      I agree SWE need to read this CPD is an absolute disgrace when social workers particularly ASYE’s have impossible case loads so yes let’s just give them more paperwork to do …because that will help fix things !

      But than BASW is a disgrace for not fighting to get this scraped !

      The system is broken someone needs to press the reset button.

      We need to stop propping up a failing system and work the 37 hours we are all paid for

  16. Emma April 8, 2022 at 8:22 pm #

    As much as it is a relief to read that I am not alone, it is at the same time really sad that NQSW are feeling so let down, unsupported, exhausted, emotional and overwhelmed. I personally have questioned if this is what I signed up for when I decided to become a social worker.
    I have cried so much in the few months I have been in my ASYE role and felt I have just been dropped in to figure things out myself. Not only has this feeling affected me personally, it has had an effect on my family as a whole.
    No matter how hard I try, I just feel like my mistakes overshadow all the effort and passion I put in my work. I just want to finish my ASYE and really think if all the stress is worth it.
    To all ASYEs hang in there and believe in yourself.

  17. Liz April 9, 2022 at 9:50 am #

    I absolutely agree, in one ‘outstanding’ children services 20/70 left due to stress and being unsupported within 6 months, 5/70 missed their portfolio dates due to Practise educator being pants ( that’s also an area that is completely a law unto themselves ) with no direct supervision of their own practise being answerable to no one.

    I had an excellent Manager, my caseloads were kept low and my supervision was excellent. But still I was left to do a S.7 report with no support whatsoever, told simply to look and a colleagues and then present at court, which was my worst experience EVER. But still with ten years previous family support work I left questioning my ability to be a social work and my capability my confidence lower then before I did my degree…

    I know of 5 in my cohort of graduates who faced punitive disciplinary action due to lack of support, and I know a few of my cohort who struggled to get jobs because of their past issues (nothing to do with safeguarding) and sadly yes race.. I noticed very early on my black colleagues and friends were facing far more challenges then I certainly did, just to get into the job. I would say out of my prob 150 cohort in year one again 75 graduated and I would say from what I know, about 10% of that have left the profession completely.

    It’s shocking and asye is unmonitored, falsely advertising a support package that clearly doesn’t do as it states. And finally local authority’s who are again answerable to no one apart from an ofsted visit that is tailored to the officer.

    I don’t know what I will do, I am currently working agency because I am trying to find my niche without local authority. I know now I am good at my job and I am always keen to learn, I continue to love learning but will I stay… tbh probably not… I am already considering what else I may be able to access as a result of my degree.

    • Alec Fraher April 15, 2022 at 6:03 am #

      Liz, this is so sad.

      I really don’t know if it helps, even at an abstracted conceptual level, to know that all the social welfare legislation, and including, LASSA, has since the NHS Reforms in 1974 been what is called an EU Path Dependence; the contradictions and shortcomings of which had manifest in 2007.

      Otherwise “exempted’ services were brought into the scope of what’s called the ‘Services Directive’ making them economic activities and suitable to competition: everyone knows it does not work yet it continues and at a pace. Brexit planning largely ignored the mess. PM Cameron acknowledged the problem saying it was of an Industrial Scale; a problem with roots in the Thatcher years.

      Over two thirds of the time, in years, since 1979 have been under one form of austerity or another. The aspirations of pretty good, if not world beating, legislation never reaching fruition. And, that’s because of the world wide slide towards the right created in part by the need for a centrist position to operate globally as well as within Europe.

      For cpd see The Great Moving Right Show by by the late Stuart Hall and for policy drift see Prof Gerald Wistow.

      Liz, don’t give up. Get an assignment in Scotland. The Scots stopped copying English Authorities ages ago. The pressure is no less but the collective will to do something about it is stronger. And, that’s solid learning.