Headlines: October 13th, 2009

Social Workers’ morale is lower than it was five years ago and social work needs a morale boost. This is the finding of a survey published today which also shows support in the profession for a Government-appointed Chief Social Worker. The Association of Social Work Employment Businesses has published the results ahead of the anticipated publication next month of the report from the Social Work Task Force.

Its report is based on polling of 250 of its members. More than four-fifths of respondents wanted better representation through the creation of a Chief Social Worker to advise ministers and the public. Just fewer than nine out of ten also called for the establishment of a National College of Social Work.

Questioned about qualifications and training, almost two-thirds of those taking part said they would like to see a license-to-practice system introduced for newly qualified social workers. More than 85 per cent wanted more practical training on how to make objective evaluations and assessments and more than 90 per cent said there should be equal access to on-the-job training for locum and permanent social workers. Almost four out of five social workers said morale was lower or much lower than five years ago.

Andrew Thorne, who chairs ASWEB, said the study showed it was vital to listen to the voice of the profession. “ASWEB believes that the concepts of a Chief Social Worker and the National College of Social Work send out powerful and positive messages that society values social work as a profession, recognises the value that it brings, and demonstrates a clear government commitment to driving up standards and competence,” he added. The Association also believes these initiatives would attract more people into the profession and persuade those already in it to stay longer.