Headlines: September 22nd, 2010

Four out of ten social workers in England and Wales feel their caseloads are unmanageable, according to a study by a specialist social work recruitment consultancy. The research by Liquid Personnel also found two thirds of social workers reported that their workload had increased in the past year.

The company says the results reveal the extent of the challenges facing social work professionals. Three quarters of them said they now spent significantly less time with vulnerable children and adults than they did a year ago and believed this was due to increased caseloads and having to spend more time on administrative tasks. Because of increased caseloads 84 per cent of social workers often worked more than their contracted hours to get the job done.

Liquid’s managing director, Jon Coxon, said the survey highlighted some of the difficulties of being a frontline social worker. “While they may often be portrayed negatively in the media, it’s essential to stand up for social workers and give a true reflection of the challenges they are faced with in their daily work,” he said.

Mr. Coxon said that unmanageable caseloads could lead to dangerous working conditions and create risks, particularly for vulnerable children. “This situation will persist unless caseloads are addressed,” he added. The Liquid findings are based on more than 220 responses from social workers.