Gove’s call for earlier intervention ‘ woefully out of touch’

BASW has urged education secretary Michael Gove to acknowledge his own government’s role in shaping the current practice environment before judging the actions of frontline social workers.

BASW described Mr Gove’s speech to the National Children and Adult Services conference as “an example of the woefully out of touch and deliberately misleading public dialogue that plagues our profession.”

The response follows Mr Gove’s comments that, “Social workers fail to act when they should because they fear media and public criticism.”

Mr Gove added: “I think there are certain circumstances when we don’t intervene when we should. I am convinced that some children are being left in inappropriate homes for far too long.”

BASW professional officer, Nushra Mansuri said: “It is highly unlikely that an imagined media reaction is what drives the decision making of frontline social workers. The reality is that what we have in so many parts of the country is a system that is absolutely over-stretched and where individuals are being forced to work beyond their capacity.

“Caseloads have soared which has not necessarily been matched by an increase in resources to meet the demand. Inevitably, threshold levels have gone up meaning that departments are often simply not able to intervene as early as they would like – most social workers would absolutely love to be able to operate with a more preventative focus, but are unable to do so.”

She added: “The situation is exacerbated by the cuts to support staff, job freezes and diminished conditions of service. We are expected to do more for less – no matter how gifted the social worker, the maths simply doesn’t add up.

Mr Gove should desist from blaming social workers and look at the finite resources they are forced to work with – is this really good enough for The UK’s children?”