Agency calls for councils to maintain frontline social worker levels

Specialist social work recruitment consultancy Liquid Personnel has urged local authority managers to maintain staffing levels among frontline social workers, and to ensure that staff are properly supported despite recent spending cuts.

They suggest that cuts to social work teams will lead to an increase in caseloads and additional pressure on many teams.  In a survey of social workers from across the country, they found that 40% of practitioners already find their current caseload unmanageable, and 2/3 have experienced an increase in their caseload in the last 12 months.

Liquid also say that effective administrative support is a key factor in helping social workers to do their job properly.  Their survey results indicate that over 2/3 of social workers currently spent 30% or less of their time with service users, and actually spend the majority of time completing administrative tasks.  Cuts to back office staff will result in more of these duties being taken on by social workers, leaving less time available to spend with service users. 

Liquid’s Managing Director, Jonathan Coxon, commented:

“Cuts to frontline staffing will undoubtedly lead to an increase in caseloads, which would be unacceptable for many teams.  We found that ¾ of social workers are spending less time with their clients than 12 months ago, and this will only be exacerbated by cuts to back office resources.

“We work with a wide range of skilled social workers in varying settings across the country, and we are very aware of the pressures facing some frontline staff.  However we are also in contact with many who benefit from working in a well-staffed team with great back office support.”

“We would urge employers to ensure frontline staff levels are maintained, and that social workers are provided with back office support wherever possible, allowing them to effectively fulfil their statutory obligations to vulnerable children and adults.”