Have you ever wondered if you were considering leaving social work what the reason would be? A common theme is the high case load and the pressure spent on completing paperwork rather than the quality time needed with the young people. Community Care have completed their own research that evidences the strain every social worker is under here.
After all if you do not have the time to do the work needed with families what is the point? Well there is always a point when preventing significant harm, but a short term fix is not a long term solution and having worked with many young people who remain in confused about the reasons they are in care or deeply affected by the abuse they have suffered. I can understand why and how this can disillusion a lot of good social workers.
But what I do see a lot of is social workers leaving because of change! The change programme that is being designed to bring radical change to social work and allow social work to be redesigned and allow face to face work again.
And it is not that this is a good idea, but instead the short sighted attempts by the Government and the pressures placed on Local Authority’s to make these changes without the funding and systems to do this safely.
Where a basic investment in the staff is low priority, where consultation takes place staff are shouted down and ignored so that senior managers can achieve the savings needed. It is these changes or lack of that I am seeing on a daily basis, causing greater pressure and a feeling of disillusion.
It is this detail that will have the greater impact on social workers and whether they will be able to continue their work. The systems that are employed can assist or more often than not disadvantage the social work process. Which could mean a big difference for young people and their families.
I guess for me I will continue to speak up about the process and how change takes place, and so should everyone else in the appropriate manner. Hopefully then the change that does happen will be considered and thought out rather than forced upon.