Government quizzes adult social workers on working conditions

First national survey of adult social care workforce seeks views on experience of issues such as pay, hours and training, to inform future policy

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The government is seeking social workers’ views on their working conditions as part of the first national survey of the adult social care workforce in England.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it would use the results of the research to inform policy on recruitment, retention and workforce development.

The survey, which is being run by Skills for Care and the University of Kent, covers issues including pay, working hours and training. It will run for 11 weeks and the DHSC is seeking the views of 3,000 staff overall – roughly 0.2% of the 1.635m people working in the sector across England.

Uncompetitive pay and high vacancies

The research comes amid widespread pressures on the adult social care workforce driven by, among other factors, pay rates for care staff that have become increasingly uncompetitive with comparable sectors, such as retail and hospitality, as well as with the NHS.

While latest figures show vacancy rates falling from an all-time high of 165,000, in March 2022, they were still above 150,000 across the sector as of March this year.

For local authority adult social workers specifically, vacancy rates rose from 7.5% to 11.6% from 2020-22, with turnover increasing from 13.6% to 17.1% over the same period.

The government is spending £250m over the next two years on developing the workforce – chiefly through increasing access to training and qualifications – but this is half the £500m it originally pledged, with promised actions to enhance wellbeing, track workforce racial inequalities and invest in new routes into social work dropped.

However, it has shifted £600m originally destined for social care reform into tackling more immediate pressures on services up to 2025, with the funding principally designed to tackle workforce gaps, including by raising pay.

‘I want social care to be a long-term career choice’ – chief nurse

Launching the survey, chief nurse for adult social care Deborah Sturdy said: “To build a social care workforce fit for the future, we need to listen to current staff members, whose hard work and dedication is the cornerstone of the care sector.

“I don’t want care work to just be a job, I want it to be a long-term career choice. This survey will expand our knowledge of what is working well for staff as well as, crucially, where additional support can be provided to keep the skilled professionals we already have and bring more people into care roles.”

Answer the survey now.

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8 Responses to Government quizzes adult social workers on working conditions

  1. Peter Griffiths August 18, 2023 at 8:56 pm #

    Are SWs supposed to take this survey seriously. This government will know the answers. Any negative or critical responses will be dispatched to the shredder so why bother undertaking this survey.

  2. Anonymous August 19, 2023 at 6:21 am #

    The link doesn’t work for me ?

    • Mithran Samuel August 20, 2023 at 2:23 pm #

      Sorry about that. It should be working now.

  3. Ricky August 19, 2023 at 5:33 pm #

    I have been a social worker in Northern Ireland for 12 years in a local authority. I am leaving the local authority to be an independent social worker due to high case loads, very low pay for the responsibility and very little recognition.
    I won’t be working for a local authority directly anymore, I will be contracting out for work.
    The local authorities need to get on top of this or there will be no social work workforce in the future.

  4. Emma August 20, 2023 at 8:01 am #

    Social care staff are grossly the most underpaid workforce in the country. I suggest there should be pay increase in their wages and additional time be given to the staff to able to cover up the existing gaps.

    Social care should made to be competitive and attractive.

  5. Mjaftoni Mekollari August 20, 2023 at 12:12 pm #

    Social care is a rewarding job but it’s underpaid and I feel like a number.Not a well paid job and not any difference working day and night and weekend.I feel like I m trapped in work nowhere to go higher than a career.

  6. Gary August 22, 2023 at 1:15 pm #

    Where’s the Children’s social care survey. The issues are across the board

  7. Trish Barnes September 8, 2023 at 10:45 am #

    If your talking about the Social care workforce this should include Occupational Therapists who are under represented at every turn despite the significant impact they make to prevent and delay care packages. Its the same issues of being undervalued, underpaid, understaffed . There is a much wider debate to be had about people understanding and valuing the role of those working in Social care.