Taskforce defends decision not to cap social work caseloads

The chair of the Social Work Taskforce has said its final report could not recommend a cap on social workers’ caseloads because of the current pressures on the workforce.

Addressing an audience of social workers, directors of children’s services and charity leaders, members of the Social Work Taskforce and Children’s Secretary Ed Balls were challenged on how the recommendations will directly impact on the problems social workers experience every day.

Addressing the panel, Michael Lavalette, associate professor of social work at Liverpool Hope University and founding member of the Social Work Action Network, said: “Over the past year, key issues that social workers have come to us about are managerialism, ICT systems and excessive caseloads.

“I am not completely clear how a college of social work would deal with or stop any of those things.”

But Moira Gibb said: “We are in difficulties now but we are determined to make things work, so we have not put a cap on caseloads.”

The government was also challenged to back the recommendations for improving the career paths of social workers by supporting better salaries for frontline workers.

Matthew Huggins, managing director of the Care Matters Partnership, said: “We need to pay social workers to keep them on the front line. Where does the money come from so we have the ability to do this?”