BASW and SWU have continued to lobby for improved working conditions for social workers

Research launched August 2018

  • 3421 social workers contributed to the August 2018 survey, almost three times more than that completed the first Working Conditions and Wellbeing survey in 2017. 
  • Launch event for research findings on 30th October 2018 and campaign for better working conditions for social workers.
  • Social workers are urged to write to their MP using BASW's letter template, asking for support for social workers
  • In October 2018 BASW wrote to all MPs inviting them to hear about the work of social workers, the campaign for professional working conditions and wellbeing, and to pledge their support.
  • High profile media coverage to raise awareness of the issues, including The Times, Guardian and Community Care
  • BASW/SWU held a Parliamentary reception on 27th November 2018 and more than 20 MPs made a commitment to pledge their support for social workers.

Campaign milestones

BASW and SWU have continued to speak out in the media on the issue of working conditions for social workers.

In December 2019 we launched the BASW UK manifesto which calls for action to support social workers.  This includes a call to tackle poor working conditions and unfeasibly high workloads of  social workers

Following the government election in December 2019 we wrote to all new government ministers and MPs calling for support for the BASW UK social work manifesto and to ask for meetings to discuss it.

We continue to lobby ministers to call for support.

Following the research, The International Federation of Social Workers is leading further research to create a global understanding of the realities of the working conditions of social workers.


Bath Spa University’s 2017 impactful study, UK Social Workers: Working Conditions and Wellbeing, led BASW and SWU to launch our Professional Working Conditions campaignin order to urgently improve conditions for social workers across the UK.

Taking the study’s findings of excessive caseloads, regular unpaid overtime and a lack of resource and support to cope with increased demand, BASW and SWU’s warnings of mass ‘burn out’ in the social care workforce sparked debates and questions in the House of Lords and House of Commons.

It also provided strong points of view for news stories, such as BBC online, Channel 4 News and the Guardian.

Our campaign which was first launched in June 2017 has put the issue on the political agenda but it now it needs further support and new data to push home the message.

  • Gained high-profile national media coverage with Sky News, BBC news, The Guardian and regional press
  • In July 2018 BASW’s Allison Hulmes talked on BBC Wales to highlight the issue of physical attacks on social workers
  • Also in July 2018 in a committee meeting on new draft social work regulations, BASW's campaigning led to Maria Eagle MP questioning ministers on what was being done about high caseloads, while Tracey Brabin (Shadow Minister for Early Years), Conor McGinn MP and George Howarth MP raised BASW's concerns on the impact on social workers from implementation of specific parts of the draft regulations.  
  • In May 2018, following continuous lobbying efforts, a debate was brought forward by Lord Kennedy of Southwark, who asked what strategies have been considered to alleviate the working demands faced by social workers.
  • Professional Social Work (PSW) magazine features The Unacceptables, a series on the issues that get in the way of social work
  • Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield) (Lab), Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) raised the campaign in the House of Commons in May 2018 and asked what was being done to reduce the demands faced by social workers to ‘avoid a disastrous exodus of talent and expertise?’
  • Early in 2018 John McGowan (General Secretary of SWU) and Dr Jermaine Ravalier from Bath Spa University have given a number of talks to social work groups to spread the findings of the work, and outline the next steps, including the BASW Black Country branch in Wolverhampton, and the BASW Merseyside branch.
  • In March 2018 BASW's campaign work and briefing led to a debate in the House of Commons about the significant contribution social workers make to society