BASW rejects Unison proposal that social workers should work in pairs

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has criticised Unison proposals for social workers to work in pairs on child protection cases.

Unison says the move would help prevent cases like those of Baby Peter and Khyra Ishaq, where social workers were faced with “manipulative and aggressive adults”.

However, BASW has branded the idea as “far too simplistic”.

BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson said: “The high-profile child protection cases of Baby Peter and Khyra Ishaq are extremely complex and involved, and there are typically many professionals and different agencies working with families such as these.

“For Unison to say that social workers should operate in pairs to prevent a repeat of these situations happening again is naive and loses sight of the craft of social work — it’s a painting-by-numbers formula for very complex work.”

Instead, BASW says improvements in social work should focus on better training, pay and career structures and measures to reduce red tape to free up social worker time with children and families.

Fran Fuller, BASW chair, added: “When we look at social worker shortages, astronomic case loads, lack of adequate support and supervision and the mountains of paperwork expected, it’s clear to see that the idea of pairing up social workers isn’t a solution.”

Last month’s serious case review into the death of seven-year-old Khyra Ishaq in Birmingham found social workers could have done more to protect her.